When Healthy Homes Tai Tokerau expanded into the Solar Energy market local Kaitaia businessman, Eric Shackleton, was early to recognize the value of generating his own power at his Ahipara vineyard. The 5kW Grid Connected system has been designed with in-built monitoring, so both Eric and Healthy Homes can check at any time to see how much power is being generated.His best day’s generation to date, was on January 1, producing 36.9kWh. (A normal New Zealand household will use 22kW of electricity per day).
In the seven months to the end of January the system had produced 4,336kWh with 61% used on site, and Eric expects this to go up significantly over summer. “The longer sunshine hours of summer are great for covering the power used by our vineyard watering. It’s a great match when your power load can be scheduled during the day.”
Craig Palatchie, Operations Manager for Healthy Homes, recommends on-line monitoring for all Grid Connect systems and also using Enphase micro inverters so that smaller systems, like the Start Up Pack can be added to later as needs change or finances permit. “It’s a great way to build up a system to best match your power needs.”
With a Grid Connected system you stay connected to your power company while trying to make and use as much of your own power as possible during sunshine hours. Any surplus you make can go back to the power company, with most paying a small fee of 07– 10c/kWh. However, when you use your own power you are saving full price (35–45c/kWh) so it makes sense to design a system matching generation with consumption.
Knowing that you have prepaid most of your power for the next 25–30 years is a great feeling! Investing in solar today will get you saving straight away.