Solar Power Generated in New Zealand

How much solar power can we generate here in New Zealand?

The volume of electricity solar power systems produce relies on the intensity of the sunlight and the amount of clear sunny days you have; 

  • The intensity will vary depending on your location. The sun is more intense the further north you go.
  • Clouds affect how much power the system generates, on a cloudy day there will still be power generated but it will not be at optimal output.

Below is a solar radiation map of New Zealand, showing areas that experience the most sun light in a given day.  Locations with a higher proportion of clear-sky days such as Nelson, Blenheim, Manawatu, Bay of Plenty, and Hawke’s Bay correlate with higher solar irradiance. The more Northern parts of New Zealand benefit from higher sun angles.

Solar Radiation New Zealand
Resource from NIWA Science

Solar in NZ compared to the world

Installing a solar power system is worthwhile for all areas of New Zealand.  Invercargill get’s a lower proportion of sun hours and intensity compared to other parts of New Zealand. However, Invercargill gets more sun than Germany, which is one of the world’s top solar power installers, with almost as much installed solar power systems as the rest of the world combined.

Interestingly, you will see a solar power system produce the most amount of power when the sky is partially cloudy and direct sunlight is hitting the solar panels, as well as sun bouncing off the clouds and then hitting the panels. 

Helpful hint: When you get a quote, ask companies how much power you will generate from the solar power system size that you have been quoted for.

Main Regions Annual Solar Generation Chart for Different Sized Systems

The chart below indicates the approximate annual energy production of different size systems ranging from a 1.6kW system to an 8kW in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.  This data is collected from SMA's Sunny Design Web.

Approximate Annual Solar Generation Production Chart NZ
System size 1.6kW 2kW 3.2kW 4kW 5kW 6kW 7kW 8kW
Auckland 2171 2994 4340 5530 6934 8408 9241 11192
Wellington 2046 2817 4144 5214 6537 7926 8714 10551
Christchurch 1990 2743 3993 5074 6362 7717 8483 10275
Dunedin 1973 2719 3958 5031 6307 7650 8409 10186