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Reviews From Solar Power System Owners

We have asked people that brought a solar power system after getting 3 quotes through My Solar Quotes how their solar power systems are going!  We asked:
What size system did you install?
How long has your solar power system been running for?
How did you find the solar installation?
How have you found the performance of the solar power system?
Do you have any other comments that you would like to share with New Zealanders thinking about going solar?


John, Waipa, Waikato

Review Date: 07/11/2018

Size: 6kW

Running for: Just over a month

Expected pay back period: 5-6 depending on those clouds

Comments on the installation: "The team that came were great, easy to deal with and did a great job."

Comments on the system performance: "Its doing what we hoped for, just need the weather to do its thing. The first bill more that covered the additional charges for installing the export metre and that was only half a month."

Advice: "More of us need to do this, but we also need to start more effectively lobbying government to support solar as they do in Australia and many parts of Europe "

Nitin, Tauranga, Bay Of Plenty

Review Date: 02/11/2018

Size: 3.6kW

Running for: 0 days

Expected pay back period: 6 years

Comments on the installation: "The vendor used contract solar installers who at times bypassed the new H&S Act. It also has taken longer than expected."

Comments on the system performance: "Still waiting for the solar inspector to approve the final install"

Advice: "It is a good option. Do not invest in diverters to your hot water cylinder. Install a dual element cylinder with the bottom element connected to be always on solar and the middle element on mains. Also sell your power through solar buddies rather than back to the grid"

Cedric, Opotiki, Bay Of Plenty

Review Date: 23/10/2018

Size: 5kw

Running for: 2 months

Expected return on investment: 10--11%

Expected pay back period: 5---6 years

Comments on the installation: "Solar Options from Whakatane were great in all respects"

Comments on the system performance: "Performance has been above expectation---more each day as the weather improves "

Advice: "Get 3 or 4 quotes and then go with your most qualified installer who you think will give the best panels and return"

Wayne, Christchurch City, Canterbury

Review Date: 24/09/2018

Size: 4.8kW

Running for: 3 months (from 3/7)

Expected return on investment: Not applicable

Expected pay back period: Not applicable

Comments on the installation: "Very smooth: I had exposed, strengthened and plywood-sheeted the area for the inverter/battery, and exposed an access panel into the roof void that the DC wiring was run through. Plus pre-drilled all the holes through studs, needed to fit the DC conduit through. Roof is Monier Centurion concrete tile, and the installers did not break one tile, for a 15 panel install."

Comments on the system performance: "System has consistently produced power and from mid-August onwards is capable of getting the 9.8kWh battery up to 100%. The discharge of battery coasts us through till night rate time at 9pm, so the only peak-rate grid power used is early morning, and on very overcast days, some evening draw. As we run a spa pool and electric hot water, these two constitute the bulk of the residual power bill. Both are night rate draw. It is Very Important to choose a supplier who offers low off-peak rates, and those rates being applicable for the most time. E.g. 9pm to 7am. For the last three months, our grid consumption has averaged out at 16-17c/kWh, which includes daily charges, and is around half the usual peak-time rate. We expect that during summer, and perhaps with the addition of circuitry capable of switching mid-day power to the hot water, the residual grid bills will fall much further. But as there's a daily lines charge (another thing to shop around for: lowest daily rate...) the power bills will never be zero. We should mention that the inverter set-up is 'maximise self consumption' so there is little export back to the grid and any such export is in any case worth only around half the average import rate quoted above. In other words, it is not going to help the ROI much if any under these settings. A further refinement we will pursue once the consumption and generation mix has run through a whole season, is to have the 'maximise self consumption' profiule adjusted so that the battery will receive some charge off peak from the grid, and the early-morning peak-rate consumption could thereby be supplied from the battery rather than from the grid. This won't be an immediate change."

Advice: "We were unconcerned about ROI: the main attraction was that having our own small power station renders us less vulnerable to grid outages - there is an Essential Supply/backup capability built in - and the install cannot be subtracted in the way that bank deposit or KS funds conceivably could in a crunch. The system is a top-quality LG/SolarEdge/StorEdge mix, and it will require a battery replacement half-way through its 25-30 year life. The main point of the battery is quite simple: backup/essential supply, plus the time-shifting of consumption to off-peak rates. It isn't for everyone, as the investment needed is roughly double that of a conventional grid-tied panel plus small inverter deal. But the battery effects on the wider grid, given the way we utilise it, is actually positive: it reduces peak grid load during the day, and because the battery is mostly capable (given good insolation during the day) of supplying all household needs until off-peak time, and often beyond, the evening peak on the grid is thereby much reduced. Plus, as the evening consumption peak is coming from the battery, any residual call on the grid is both smaller and later than it would otherwise be, meaning that grid generation need not be capable of the very high ramp-up rates otherwise experienced if solar alone is used, no batteries, and when the sun sets the grid demand can be both high and sudden, hence high ramp-rate generation needed. So every battery-plus-solar install that happens is a net positive for this grid design aspect. "

Tim, Whangarei, Northland

Review Date: 02/06/2018

Size: we will be installing a 30Kw system

Running for: it hasnt yet

Expected return on investment: Huband's (the installer) estimates 19.6% per year over the 25 year warranty period of the system. This is a saving of $216k over that time assuming a 2.5% increase in power costs and also allowing to the savings paying back the cost of the system. They have also factored in depreciation values.

Expected pay back period: 4.5-5 years

Comments on the installation: "we are waiting to start"

Comments on the system performance: "I can answer that after it is installed"

Advice: "I really like the service you offer and the assistance you have given us. We have received a competitive price from a local supplier/installer and I feel you have be very helpful in obtaining that. We had received an offer from Super Charged Solar and have heard some terrible stories about them since. World Solar would have been or next choice but there was a degree of smooth salesmanship I found a little disappointing. They wanted to know "what price we have to beat" and did not offer a what we wanted."

Sascha, Upper Hutt, Wellington

Review Date: 15/05/2018

Size: 4kW

Running for: 3 months

Expected return on investment: 45%

Expected pay back period: 8 years

Comments on the installation: "Overall went well. Had to wait nearly 2 months for the wifi modules due to high demand"

Comments on the system performance: "Yes"

Advice: "I recommend doing it if people have the money available. If you need a credit then it’s maybe not worth it financially. And remember you need change some of your behaviours wilt solar to make best use of it."

Anita, Far North, Northland

Review Date: 08/04/2018

Size: 4kw 14 panels

Running for: 6 weeks

Expected return on investment: Excellent

Expected pay back period: 10-12 as we have batteries too

Comments on the installation: "Hubands Energy in Whangarei was the first one to contact us when we did the 3 quote on website. Never heard from any one else, but totally happy we got a local company to install it!"

Comments on the system performance: "Far North, great sunshine hours, logic to try and make use of the sun.Power bill $24....... hoping for less next time!!!"

Advice: "Easy to do washing while the sun shines or power up your gadgets while the sun is out as you know it is not going to cost!!"

Anna, Dunedin, Otago

Review Date: 27/03/2018

Size: 3kW

Running for: Ten weeks

Expected return on investment: 10%pa

Expected pay back period: Ten

Comments on the installation: "All good except several weeks later than expected due to various holiday period holdups from different services "

Comments on the system performance: "Good but rather than saving it is so far costing the same as before- this is because we are connected to the grid and the placement of the array was geared towards peak production - to save money it would have been better to spread the array around the peak use (eg after school homework washing and cooking time is currently just when our production has dropped). Neither the quotes, installers nor power company fully explained the charge out system (ie everyone had explained that we would pay on the net difference- even the trustpower operator I spoke to to double check used this approach to estimate our expected bills post installation) the fact that we are charged separately for imports and exports and at such a differing rate have meant effectively no savings have been made as yet. This month I am trialling running household chores such as laundry and vacuuming only when generating sufficient current to aim for our hopes for 10% savings."

Advice: "As there really hasn’t been any financial benefit, I wonder if our greenish government could look at ways to actually make this a financially viable set up. It should be better for the country to be a solar generator connected to the grid but as this is not the case, we are considering going off grid - which is not nearly as environmentally friendly but may make this whole exercise worth supporting "

Ann, Hurunui, Canterbury

Review Date: 24/03/2018

Size: not sure - 7 panels plus a solar hot water panel

Running for: 3 months

Expected pay back period: no investment! We lease from SolarCity and did not buy panels. Saving loads from day 1! Cost of lease lower than purchase price and not stuck with dated technology - they will update and no cost.

Comments on the installation: "Excellent - less than a day."

Comments on the system performance: "Power bills are less than half overall - that includes the lease and connection charges. We would be paying about $200 per month this time of year; last month's bill was about $100."

Advice: "Don't waste money buying a system that will be obsolete before it has paid for itself. We couldn't be happier than we are with SolarCity."

Doug , Franklin, Auckland

Doug

Review Date: 21/03/2018

Size: 3.6kW

Running for: 6 weeks

Expected return on investment: Cost $8.5k, expect payoff in <5 years

Expected pay back period: 5 years

Comments on the installation: "Yes, took great care. One day to install."

Comments on the system performance: "Last power bill was $1. Unbelievable!"

Advice: "I should have installed 20 panels rather than 12. Would have cost $2500 extra but would be money well spent."

Steve, New Plymouth, Taranaki

Review Date: 01/03/2018

Size: 4kW

Running for: 2 months

Expected return on investment: 8%

Expected pay back period: 14

Comments on the installation: "good-no issues, very quick, 3 days work total"

Comments on the system performance: "bills have reduced by 50%"

Advice: "Make sure your system has good connectivity for monitoring"

Susan, Manukau City, Auckland

Review Date: 10/01/2018

Size: 2.7kW

Running for: 2 months

Expected pay back period: 10 years

Comments on the installation: "So easy. One day and all done. No mess. No fuss. "

Comments on the system performance: "Perfect time to install for the good weather at beginning of summer. We have saved about $100 per month. 1/3 if our bill. But it is summer in Auckland, won’t be so good when it rains."

Advice: "Very happy with the results so far. Nice to be able to see what the solar is doing. Make sure you move your electric hot water to heating after 10am, and get maximum benefits from those sun rays. "

Dean, Waikato, Waikato

Review Date: 17/12/2017

Size: 5 kW

Running for: 2 months

Expected return on investment: 20%

Expected pay back period: 6 years

Comments on the installation: "Excellent, one day, done"

Comments on the system performance: "Too early to say yet"

Steve, Waipa, Waikato

Review Date: 30/11/2017

Size: 5.13

Running for: 2wks

Expected return on investment: not sure as havent had an account yet

Expected pay back period: 8years

Comments on the installation: "no problems 2days for install"

Comments on the system performance: "have to wait for first bill"

Advice: "inverter has fan which can be noisy so position this with that in mind"

Graeme , Auckland City, Auckland

Review Date: 23/11/2017

Size: 4.5

Running for: 3 months

Expected return on investment: 10%

Expected pay back period: 12-15

Comments on the installation: "Very respectful, very clear presentations"

Comments on the system performance: "Saving nearly 50% at presnet"

Advice: "The company I selected dropped the price 20% when a competitor gave me a better price. Pretty disconcerting!"

Malcolm, Auckland City, Auckland

Review Date: 20/10/2017

Size: 3kW

Running for: 3.5mth

Expected return on investment: not important

Expected pay back period: not important

Comments on the installation: "install was earlier than expected. Everything went up very quickly. Minor issue with monitoring wiring sorted at a later date. Had to wait nearly 2 weeks for sign off etc."

Comments on the system performance: "System produces power but saving occur mainly on weekend as normally not at home when full sun is available. Extra is exported at present."

Cameron, Hastings, Hawkes Bay

Review Date: 13/09/2017

Size: 7kW

Running for: 6 weeks

Expected return on investment: 9%

Expected pay back period: 6 years

Comments on the installation: "Took 7 days Well done"

Comments on the system performance: "Better than expected, power wall soon, yes have saved about 82%"

Advice: "Be careful, pick a Tech not a salesperson."

Mickie, Manukau City, Auckland

Review Date: 06/09/2017

Size: 5kW

Running for: 1 month

Expected return on investment: zero

Comments on the installation: "The installers did a great job and sure they look after my property. It took them one day for installation but took 3 week for the inspector to signed off the system"

Comments on the system performance: "The solar power unit performed very well but it broke down after a month & now waiting for a replacement"

Advice: "Is a great investment. "

Wayne, Wellington, Wellington

Review Date: 15/08/2017

Size: 4.43 kW

Running for: 3 weeks

Expected return on investment: 100%

Expected pay back period: 15

Comments on the installation: "Good - took a little longer than expected due to delay on batteries. But still all good"

Comments on the system performance: "Not really enough time to tell. Performance seems ok but weather hasn't been best"

Advice: "I recommend everyone should at least consider solar and see if their property is suitable. "

La Mea , Franklin, Auckland

Review Date: 29/05/2017

Size: 5kw

Running for: 2 months

Expected return on investment: not sure

Expected pay back period: 10 years

Comments on the installation: "Found them on the internet. The guys were very pleasant and mindful of our property. You could not wish for nicer guys."

Comments on the system performance: "The solar has been producing between 6 and 21 kws a day depending on the weather. We saved $100 on our first power bill."

Advice: "It is the best thing we could have done."

James, Rodney, Auckland

James

Review Date: 11/05/2017

Size: 5kw

Running for: Two weeks

Expected return on investment: Greater than 50%

Expected pay back period: 8yrs

Comments on the installation: "Excellent service, very helpful."

Comments on the system performance: "To early to tell but seems to generating well."

Advice: "Think seriously about installing a solar panel system. "

David, Hauraki, Waikato

Review Date: 20/04/2017

Size: 4kw?

Running for: Beginning 2017, but had to wait for export meter to be installed. That was in March.

Expected return on investment: About $50+ per month

Expected pay back period: About 10 years

Comments on the installation: "Half a day to put 8 panels and connect it all. Then the wait for the meter."

Comments on the system performance: "Anything from $30-$100. Per month."

Advice: "Once all connected it gives you peace of mind. And when you go on holiday you save even more"

Allan, Waitaki, Otago

Review Date: 11/04/2017

Size: 4kw

Running for: We have 2 systems, 4kw & 5kw. 5kw on house, 2+years and 4kw on ablution block,1 month.

Expected return on investment: for me its not returns but savings, house. $100 power bills average, hot tub 24/7 and 4 caravan points

Expected pay back period: pay back, not interested, its how much money needed for power bill

Comments on the installation: "world solar, great, 2.5 hours"

Comments on the system performance: "house 5kw has produced 8500kws"

Advice: "Power companies. Trust Power 7day delay to install Import/export meter. Contact Energy 1 month"

Paul, Waipa, Waikato

Review Date: 04/04/2017

Size: 3kw

Running for: about 4 weeks

Comments on the installation: "The installers (Harrisons - Solar Waikato Ltd.) were excellent: great communication; on time; clear explanation of the process of installation; polite; follow up to see we were happy. The only hick-up has been with the lines company that is to up-date the meter. Despite being informed immediately that the installation had been completed we were not contacted until just over a week ago that they would be installing in "a couple of weeks". Still do not have a firm day/time."

Comments on the system performance: "Not been going long enough to have had an effect on our last bill."