Solar Thermal Energy for Domestic Use in New Zealand

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Meanwhile literature shows that the use of solar water technology in the country is still at its minimum. Solar hot water installations were at an average of 1,200 units per year and was expected to contribute as must as 15% of hot water requirements in New Zealand households. Yet, what few people realize is that solar thermal power can be utilized to generate electricity and totally eradicate the use of coal in electricity generation. The use of solar energy for electricity generation could reduce carbon emissions by atleast 270,000 tCO2 and generate employment to as many as 400 people (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority 2001). Installation of solar hot water energy systems costed about NZ$4,000 for a full installation, which generated about 2,400 kWh to 3,100 kWh of electricity annually. To see how much economic benefit this SHW installations offered, one can use the payback period or the lifecycle cost as indicators. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) calculated that over the 20-year lifetime of the system, energy production cost was only at 12 cents per kWh. Yet, it was important to note that this calculation was based on retrofits to existing homes, which typically costed more since the structure of the home had to customized to ensure that its energy demand was low. Meanwhile, installation of solar hot water systems on new homes were much cheaper because these systems were now built into the roof structure instead of around it….
This report has four sections: a) the research plan, b) results of the research, c) discussion of these results and d) conclusion and recommendation. Methodology or Research Plan To determine the advantages of solar energy and why it should be adopted in New Zealand, the researcher utilized the following research plan: Phase 1: Discover the potential of using solar thermal energy. This is done through an interview with an expert professional and through online search. The respondent for the interview received through email so as not to impede his work schedule. Meanwhile, the online search was done through search engines. It utilizes search terms like solar power in New Zealand and solar thermal energy for domestic use. Phase 2: Determine the barriers to uptake of solar technology and create recommendation Results The Use of Solar Energy in New Zealand. To determine the potential of solar power in New Zealand, Brian Fawdray, an electrical engineer was interviewed. According to him, solar power was rarely utilized in electricity generation. Unlike other countries which started utilizing solar thermal energy, in New Zealand, electricity using solar power was done mainly through PV cells, which in itself had a limited market reach. When asked what he thought of using PV technology in the household, Fawdray said that he could not readily promote it because the technology is not yet cost effective for all households. In his words, Cost efficiency depends on many factors. He believes, however that the backup system provided by PV batteries were important since most grid connected systems do not have it, and perhaps this is something PV