New Zealand solar PV installed capacity rose sharply
According to the latest data from the New Zealand Power Network Association (ENA), the solar installation rate in New Zealand increased by 220% in the past 18 months. In October 2013, New Zealand installed 1,630 photovoltaic systems, and the number has now climbed to 5,367.
As the internationalization of the global photovoltaic industry continues to deepen, New Zealand has recently shown a strong momentum of growth. According to ENA data, the number of solar panels in New Zealand has tripled over the past 18 months. Commenting on this trend, ENA CEO Graeme Peters said that solar energy seems to pose a challenge to local monopolistic utilities. Energy storage batteries have the potential to revolutionize New Zealand's electricity supply.
The pace of solar installation throughout New Zealand is not exactly the same, and Auckland residents are most likely to install PV.
New Zealand's renewable resources are very rich. More than 60% of the country's electricity supply comes from hydropower; geothermal energy (10%) and wind energy (3%) also contribute a lot.
The New Zealand Sustainable Electricity Association (SEANZ) reported that lowering electricity bills remains the main driver of home and business installations of rooftop PV systems. Public event units are required to pay up to $0.08/kWh of grid connection fees, but it has been proven that the rise in electricity prices has spurred an increase in solar installations.
SEANZ's public relations manager, Kristen Gillis, said in an interview that the New Zealand Power Authority is currently negotiating with stakeholders on electricity price reforms, while utilities are pushing to increase taxpayers' fixed fees. Gillis estimates that New Zealand's current solar installed capacity has reached approximately 22,000 kilowatts.