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Dav4122

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#130771 27-Sep-2013 12:18
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Has anyone else signed up for or gotten set up with the Vector Solar panel trial for residential customers in Auckland? Doesn't matter who your power company is as Vector is a lines company.

I have just signed off on the paperwork to have it installed at my west Auckland home in early November.


Does anyone already have it, and if so how is it going? 
Or do you have your own solar panels, and how is that going?

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timmmay
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  #903659 27-Sep-2013 12:28
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Looks like the 5kw system will cost $20,250 on the 12.5 year term. How much would it cost to just install it yourself?

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Dav4122

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  #903694 27-Sep-2013 13:02
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I was quoted around that when I looked into getting it done myself two years ago - so can't give a price comparison for right now.

But Vector will handle any maintenance and repair as part of the $70 a month you pay - and that is what sold me on the idea

Inphinity
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  #903701 27-Sep-2013 13:13
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I have signed up a few days ago but not heard anything yet. Keen to hear, though.



TwoSeven
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  #903708 27-Sep-2013 13:21
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timmmay: Looks like the 5kw system will cost $20,250 on the 12.5 year term. How much would it cost to just install it yourself?


5Kw is a large system to put in a house I think.  Also, assuming one is on-grid, how much are they paying for electricity put back in the grid, what is the maximum production cap, and what is the electricity buy price (when you use electricity but are not producing it).







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mattwnz
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  #903716 27-Sep-2013 13:24
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I have heard of a photo voltaic system that solely heats your hot water, and is apparently cheaper and lower maintenance than solar tubes.

timmmay
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  #903731 27-Sep-2013 13:43
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TwoSeven:
timmmay: Looks like the 5kw system will cost $20,250 on the 12.5 year term. How much would it cost to just install it yourself?


5Kw is a large system to put in a house I think.  Also, assuming one is on-grid, how much are they paying for electricity put back in the grid, what is the maximum production cap, and what is the electricity buy price (when you use electricity but are not producing it).


That's in their FAQ. They're a lines company, not a retail company, so they don't buy power back.

I have two heat pumps, running normally (not including peak startup) they could consume 5kw together, let alone the rest of the appliances. I guess though it will have to charge batteries during the day, slowly, then use it at night. May work well in spring and autumn, but in winter you'll need the grid.

Dav4122

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  #903753 27-Sep-2013 14:32
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My power is with Meridian and it will cost me $180 to put a meter that will let me sell power back to them. At about .25c per kWhr
But until I get the panels on and collecting I don't know how much I will be selling back or not



Niel
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  #904321 28-Sep-2013 21:18
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Nice, I see it uses Li-Ion batteries. They say "innovative lithium batteries" so I wonder if it is LiFePO4 as it is the only thing that would be safe and give a long service life. Seems like the service contract is additional though.




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LennonNZ
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  #904355 28-Sep-2013 22:44
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I am looking in getting Solar Power myself but I see the problem is the vector solar offering is only up to max 5kW system. As I have 2 Heat pumps/Spa Pool + lots of electronic gadgets I think I would need more like a 10kW system (if my roof is large enough and its not too expensive) . for a 5Kw system  ( I have estimated by really don't know much about it and I may be completely wrong) that I would get no savings at all using it (reduce cost of power and then cost over 12.5 years to pay it off) but I may be wrong.

I looked on the net and there are so many different companies who do solar power and kinda worried choosing a system which won't be supported/old technology/companies disappears after 5 years etc so kinda stuck on what to go for.

Maybe if we start another thread to not disrupt this thread on information about Solar Power in NZ.



insane
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  #904367 28-Sep-2013 23:54
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I just signed up now, but not sure how much savings I'll see as I have gas for heating, cooking and hot water.

Elect bill is normally around $120, so if it costs $70 per month it might not be worth it given how much of my power bill consists of the base fee, no usage.

richms
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  #904369 29-Sep-2013 00:00
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Do they have any ability to upgrade mid term to more efficient panels?

The thing that puts me off going for solar, is that you constantly read about scientists making major breakthroughs in efficiency in the labs, if I invest in panels now, then I will not benefit from those gains, and infact they will make my installed panels worth even less as the newer ones get better and better.




Richard rich.ms

insane
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  #904370 29-Sep-2013 00:22
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richms: Do they have any ability to upgrade mid term to more efficient panels?

The thing that puts me off going for solar, is that you constantly read about scientists making major breakthroughs in efficiency in the labs, if I invest in panels now, then I will not benefit from those gains, and infact they will make my installed panels worth even less as the newer ones get better and better.


That same reasoning has been used for decades to justify not getting something. 

I could get a HD TV now or wait for 4K to get cheaper...... you know what's going to happen once 4K is cheaper, 16K will be released. Same principal applies to everything :)

Get it now, and enjoy it for it's full useful life. If you buy halfway through the product life cycle it will be cheaper but you'll get less from it.

richms
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  #904375 29-Sep-2013 00:30
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Except I am not expecting a return on a 4K tv, I buy it because it is something I want. Whereas solar does nothing for me other than be an investment. While banking on increasing power prices is probably a sure thing, if waiting for panels that are say 20 or 25% efficiant and cheaper makes it pay back faster than it would be pretty silly to enter into a term contract right now.




Richard rich.ms

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  #904377 29-Sep-2013 00:37
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In Finance they talk about the time value of money, whereby they say a dollar today is worth more than a dollar in the future. If you're going to delay getting any returns by not buying now, then you better hope that panels get a LOT better and cheaper soon or you'll be missing out on otherwise still OK returns.

Ouranos
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  #904415 29-Sep-2013 10:24
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While I'm a fan of solar panels and believe that they will become a major source of electricity generation, I would not touch this offer.

A quick look at the math:
- 3 kW system.
- $2000 installation and then $70/month fixed for 12.5 years.
- An ideal installation will produce 4000 kWh per annum (Vector's estimate).
- A typical variable retail price for electricity in Auckland is 21-25 c/kWh. Let's say 23 c/kWh. You'll need to stay connected to the network, so you will continue paying the daily fixed charge from your retailer.
- Expected saving on your electricity bill is: 4000 kWh pa * 23 c/kWh = $920pa (or $840pa at 21 c/kWh).
- Annual cost payable to Vector is: $70/month * 12 months = $840pa.
- At least it produces positive cashflow: $920 - $840 = $80pa.
- But you also pay $2000 up front for installation. Discounting the cashflows, including the up front cost, at 5%pa, produces a net present value (NPV) of about -$1250. ie. you lose money on the deal. The 5%pa discount rate is rather generous - it would be prudent to use a higher rate, given the risks, which would make the NPV worse.

A more sophisticated analysis would also include factors such as:
- Retail electricity prices will increase over time. Let's say 3%pa on average.
- The output of the PV panels and batteries will degrade over time. A good rate is about 1%pa (it could be much worse).
- The 4000 kWh per annum output is the ideal. Many systems will produce less, especially if the angle of the roof to the sun isn't good, or there are trees in the area, or dust settles on the panels.
- Overseas experience suggests that house buyers heavily discount PV installations. If you sell the house, expect to write-off most of your investment.
- Vector say that they can turn on the batteries at any time. It is unclear what this means, but I suspect it means that they can use the energy to reduce load on the network, which will probably be to your disadvantage. I suspect this is the main reason why Vector are making this offer, as it reduces their need to make expensive network investment.
- If the system produces excess energy, then most retailers offer (or soon will offer) split prices; meaning that they pay you a lot less for excess than they charge you for consumption. For example, your consumption costs you 23 c/kWh, while they pay you 10 c/kWh for excess. Depending on the PV's production and your electricity consumption pattern, this can take a large chunk off the value of the system.

Allowing for rising retail prices more than offsetting the degrading performance, you might just breakeven. Though probably not. The other factors listed above are all negative. Although you could treat a project like this as having positive geek value, you should not view it as an investment.

In 10-20 years it should be worthwhile installing solar panels. On the other hand, I said that 20 years ago and it still isn't economic now. Maybe one day.

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