The market for solar PV in New Zealand could perhaps best be described as cute. It’s got potential, it’s good looking, a little quirky and has delivered particularly in off grid terms, but on grid? Well, just cute.
The abundance of hydro and wind power is a major factor of course; loads of clean and green energy already flows into the networks. There have also been some great attempts to get grid connected solar up and running over the years; I personally visited a library in Auckland around 10 years ago that had a 10kW system installed and industry veterans like Able Solar and Reid Technology have been chipping away for decades.
Although big growth in grid connect is rare, interesting news today from the land of the Kakapo (another rare species) is that a major on-line retail chain, The Warehouse is going to have a stab at solar PV in conjunction with local company SolarCity according to reports. Australia’s own Bunnings had a good dabble in PV a few years ago but failed to gain traction, as did Harvey Norman and Retra-vision; so one has to ask the question – Is solar PV ready for main stream retailers yet?
Time will tell, but linking Kiwibank’s Sustainable Energy Loan product should help and it will be interesting to see if the take up rates of solar PV and finance products help turn this latent market into a new growth area in the South East Asian region.