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The Solar Power Adoption in New Zealand

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Posted October 16, 2019

New Zealand has been seeing a rise in the rate of adoption of solar power as an alternative energy resource in the last few years. Last year alone, New Zealand’s solar power output has increased from 70 MW to 91 MW, which is a substantial 21% increase.

Solar panel array. Image credit: Pixabay via Pexels (Free Pexels licence)

Solar panel array. Image credit: Pixabay via Pexels (Free Pexels licence)

Even though the government doesn’t provide subsidies or any form of tax cuts, the demand for solar power is stronger than ever. The increase of solar power efficiency and the price drop of photovoltaics to less than a fifth of what it used to cost 10 years ago have been fueling the nation’s drive towards adopting green technology.

Here is a summary of the latest scientific developments that led to the embracing of sunlight.

Implementation of Microgrids

Almost the whole country is connected to the national grid transmission lines that transport electricity through huge distances. A microgrid is like a smaller version that is still connected to it, yet has the ability to disconnect whenever there is an emergency or something that needs to be done.

Solar power farms are considered to be highly expensive and inefficient due to the costs required to transport the generated electricity for long distances. Microgrids can be created by the distribution of solar-powered electricity produced by the community itself in the local area. A microgrid has to remain at the same voltage of the main grid by a coupling connection. It’s possible to use switches that automatically shut or connect the microgrid to the main grid whenever it senses a problem or disruption like in the case of natural disasters. Qualified electricians are now quite familiar with solar power setups as several countries are already venturing into the solar power adoption movement, they usually determine the electrical energy your house consumes. In the same manner, the solar panel setup, from the number of panels to the storage capacity you need, will be recommended by the electrician. Microgrids provide the end-user with freedom from being dependent on the main grid, especially remote areas where the costs of fuel and transmitting electricity are more expensive.

Floatovoltaics

The first floatovoltaics project in New Zealand is going to be on a wastewater treatment pond. Considered to be the first megawatt-scale solar system in New Zealand, the floating PV project is supported by different Watercare councils in the country. The 2,700-panel project is expected to produce more than double the amount of electricity produced by the current largest solar array in the country.

The rise of photovoltaic cells’ temperature to levels that reduce its efficiency is inevitable. Floatovoltaics technology utilizes the surrounding water to be used as a coolant to solar panels, ensuring that the material and the circuit are working at maximum efficiency to increase the electrical yield by at least 8%.

Image credit: Andreas Gücklhorn via Unsplash (Free Unsplash licence)

Image credit: Andreas Gücklhorn via Unsplash (Free Unsplash licence)

New Zealand is taking impressive strides to start adopting solar power more efficiently. From 368-panel solar project installed on a school campus to megawatt-scale solar array, floating in the water, the future is looking bright while scientific development makes it easier to pursue the solar option. The combining of geothermal, hydro, and wind energy are putting the country on the fast-track to achieve 2035 100% renewable energy target.

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