Regulations & Consent For Solar Power in NZ

Grid connected solar power systems must comply to local lines companies, along with NZ electrical standards and local council regulations. The council will look at certain installation and electrical safety requirements. Solar power systems can overload power lines; it is lines companies that make sure this doesn't happen.

Do solar power systems in NZ need council consent?

Some council’s in New Zealand require consent applications.

Building or resource consent is a bit of a grey area as the Building Act of 2004 exempts energy work from requiring a building consent.  Some New Zealand solar installation companies suggest that there is no need for any one in New Zealand to get council consent.  Be cautious, you may wish to call your local council or ask your installer to find out the councils exact requirements.

Some council’s do not differentiate between solar power and solar hot water systems.  You might be forced to fill out an application for solar hot water consent… it happens!

Heritage-listed buildings may require resource consent and strict zones may also require consent.

Solar Power Council Consent Requirements and Fees Around New Zealand

Auckland Council – No consent required.

Christchurch City Council – No consent required.

Dunedine City Council - No consent required.

Hamilton City Council – Building consent is required – No fees

Nelson City Council – No consent required.

Napier City Council – No consent required.

Tauranga City Council - No consent required.

Wellington City Council – “Resource consent is no longer required for most solar panel installations.”

Waikato District Council – Yes, (the fee is to be confirmed)

Western Bay of Plenty - No consent required.

Porirua City Council - No consent required.

Gisborne District Council - Yes, applied through the minor building consent form.

Lines Company Regulations

All lines companies require consents.  If you are going to be exporting solar power to their power lines, then they need to know!

They want to make sure that the technical specifications of your system meets their prerequisites.

Lines companies on occasion reject grid connection requests based on the size of the system. Often, this will be resolved by installing a smaller system or installing a zero export device.

To find lines companies requirements, and applications forms for each area of New Zealand, please see the list below;

Lines Company Name and Link to their DG Page

Districts Serviced

Alpine Energy

Geraldine, Temuka, Pleasant Point, Timaru, Twizel, Waimate

Aurora Energy

Dunedin, Alexandra, Cromwell, Queenstown, Arrowtown, Wanaka

Buller Electricity

Westport

Centralines

Waipawa, Waipukurau

Counties Power

Auckland (southern Papakura and Drury only), Pukekohe, Waiuku

Eastland Network

Gisborne, Wairoa

Electra

Foxton, Shannon, Levin, Otaki, Kapiti

EA Networks - Electricity Ashburton

Ashburton

Electricity Invercargill - Powernet

Invercargill (inner suburbs), Bluff

Horizon Energy Distribution

Kawerau, Murupara, Edgecumbe, Whakatane, Opotiki

The Lines Company

Otorohanga, Te Kuiti, Mangakino, Taumarunui, Turangi, Ohakune

MainPower

Kaikoura, Hanmer Springs, Oxford, Rangiora, Woodend, Kaiapoi

Marlborough Lines

Blenheim, Picton

Nelson Electricity

Nelson (CBD)

Network Tasman

Takaka, Motueka, Nelson (suburbs), Brightwater, Wakefield

Network Waitaki

Oamaru

Northpower

Whangarei, Dargaville

Orion

Christchurch, Lincoln, Rolleston, Darfield, Leeston

OtagoNet Joint Venture

Milton, Balclutha

The Power Company (Powernet)

Gore, Te Anau, Winton, Riverton, Invercargill (outer suburbs)

Powerco

Coromandel, Whitianga, Tairua, Thames, Whangamata, Paeroa, Waihi, Waihi Beach, Te Aroha, Morrinsville, Matamata, Putaruru, Tokoroa, Katikati, Tauranga, Te Puke, Waitara, New Plymouth, Inglewood, Stratford, Eltham, Opunake, Manaia, Hawera, Patea, Wanganui, Raetihi, Waiouru, Taihape, Marton, Bulls, Feilding, Palmerston North, Pahiatua, Masterton, Carterton, Greytown, Featherston, Martinborough

Scanpower

Dannevirke, Woodville

Top Energy

Taipa Bay-Mangonui, Kaitaia, Kerikeri, Russell, Paihia, Kawakawa, Moerewa, Kaikohe

Unison Networks

Rotorua, Taupo, Napier, Hastings

Vector

Wellsford, Warkworth, Snells Beach, Helensville, Waiheke Island, Auckland (excluding southern Papakura and Drury)

Waipa Networks

Cambridge, Te Awamutu

WEL Networks

Huntly, Raglan, Hamilton

Wellington Electricity

Wellington, Porirua, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt

Westpower

Reefton, Greymouth, Hokitika

Electrical Standards

There are several standards in which grid connect solar power systems must comply;

  • AS 4777.1:2005 Grid connection of energy systems via inverters.
  • AS/NZS 5033:2012 Installation and safety requirements of Photovoltaic (PV) arrays.
  • AS/NZS 3000:2007 Wiring rules.

Off-grid solar power systems must comply with;

  • AS/NZS 4509

Battery installations must comply with;

  • AS 4086
  • NZS 4219