In the face of seeming indifference of a new Government towards domestic solar power, Harrisons Energy boss Phil Harrison says the company is re-doubling its efforts to bring lower power bills and clean, green energy to as many Kiwi households as possible.
Phil – Managing Director of Harrisons Energy Solutions – says the company fully backs The Sustainable Electricity Association NZ (SEANZ), who branded as a “myth” new Energy Minister Megan Woods’ assertion that “solar panels and distributed generation mean that more people who can afford to are able to draw less electricity from the grid, pushing the price of electricity up for everyone else”.
In fact, a SEANZ-commissioned report in 2016 pointed to solar’s “negligible” effects on the cost of delivering electricity as well as highlighting the far broader social and financial benefits to the wider community – effects that Phil says the Government are clearly overlooking.
“The Government needs to come and talk to the people at the grassroots of the industry to see the very real savings that Kiwi households are making to their power bills,” he says.
“And those households aren’t just at the top end of society – if you are a home-owner, then installing solar is definitely now more affordable. We’ve seen a move in recent years from early adopters to more mainstream, Kiwis are deciding to choose solar at home.
“If the Government is, as it says, serious about climate change, then it needs to take the blinkers off and see that solar has a part to play for everyone in New Zealand. At Harrisons, we’ve always had it as part of our mission to bring clean, green solar energy to all tiers of New Zealand society – that’s why we have long fought to bring the cost down with interest-free deals and different ways to pay.”
Phil fully backs SEANZ Chairman Brendan Winitana, who called on the Government to get up to date with both the technology and the research that shows solar could bring cost savings to a broad range of Kiwi households.
“The myth that solar is only for the well-heeled is simply out-of-date,” Brendan says. “We have data that shows the median income of households installing solar on no money up front plans is $75,000, lower than the national median household income. These households are saving beyond 35% off their monthly power bills.
“The view that blames the rising cost of delivered electricity on the uptake of solar PV has also been well and truly dispelled. Solar water heaters, insulation, and other energy efficiency measures have had a far greater impact on demand than solar PV. In fact, according to MBIE data, average household electricity use has been declining since 2009, which is three years before solar PV uptake had a noticeable effect.
“That these myths persist in the face of contrary evidence raises the importance of having relevant and up-to-date data and advice circulated by government agencies.”
Phil says that a number of factors have meant an upsurge of interest in solar technology through the early months of 2018, including the arrival of Harrison’s Tesla Partnership, the launch of Tesla’s Powerwall 2, and the recent power outages caused by storms.
“This interest is from homeowners from all walks of life because they realise that they can really make a difference now to lock in the price they’re going to pay for power over the next 10 years or so,” Phil says.
“Despite what Megan Woods seems to think, those savings aren’t simply for high-income households.
“The Government really does need to start backing this technology rather than putting up obstacles – but in the meantime all their misguided commentary does is empower us to work harder and help more families to make a serious dent in their power bills.”
For more information on how solar generation and battery storage can change your household’s energy costs and needs, contact Harrisons Energy to book a consultation with one of our experts or visit the website to find your nearest Harrisons Energy expert.