Regulations & Consent For Solar Power in NZ

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Regulations & Consent For Solar Power in NZ

Along with local council regulations, grid-connected solar power systems must comply with local lines companies (your local council will look at certain installation and electrical safety requirements). Solar power systems can overload power lines; lines companies make sure this won’t happen. They have established criteria for all grid connected solar power systems, and require approval when new solar power systems are connected to the lines.

Do solar power systems in NZ need council consent?

Most council's in New Zealand won’t require consent applications.  Many councils indicate that they apply the use of section 43 of the Building Act 2004, which describes solar panel installations as energy work.  As solar installations aren’t considered as building work, a building consent is not required (but can be applied for, voluntarily). 

Some New Zealand solar installation companies suggest there is no need for solar customers to receive council consent.  Be cautious, you may wish to call your local council, or ask your solar installer to find out the council’s exact requirements.

Some council's do not differentiate between solar power and solar hot water systems.  Customers might be forced to fill out an application for 'solar hot water consent', again, proceed with caution.

Nearly all Heritage-listed buildings require a resource consent and strict zones may also require consent.

Solar Power Council Consent Requirements and Fees Around New Zealand (Updated April 2019)

Council Name Consent Required  Exceptions Type Of Consent Consent Cost Turn Around Time
Ashburton District Council No
Auckland Council No The property may be in a special interest or heritage zone. Adding the photovoltaic panels on the roof may affect height-to-boundary restrictions. The solar panels form part of the roof cladding. - - -
Bay of Plenty Regional Council No
Canterbury Regional Council NA Environment Canterbury does not hold any regulations on solar power systems. Please contact your city/district council for this.
Carterton District Council No
Central Hawke's Bay District Council No An example of a trigger for a building consent might be weight bearing limits on a roof. A resource consent might be needed if the installation was stand alone and near the boundary of a property.
Central Otago District Council No
Chatham Islands Council No
Christchurch City Council No
Clutha District Council No
Dunedin City Council No
Far North District Council No
Gisborne District Council No
Gore District Council No
Grey District Council No
Hamilton City Council Yes Building Consent No Cost 20 working days
Hastings District Council TBC
Hauraki District Council No Unless the installation does not comply with the permitted development standards of the District Plan, such as exceeding maximum height or daylighting standards.
Hawke's Bay Regional Council No
Horowhenua District Council No
Hurunui District Council No
Hutt City Council Maybe, project dependent - No cost 20 working days
Invercargill City Council No Unless the installation of the panels effected the structure of the building in some way or because of any possible wind-loading as a result of panels being placed in a raised position.
Kaikoura District Council No
Kaipara District Council No
Kapiti Coast District Council No
Kawerau District Council No
Mackenzie District Council No
Manawatu District Council No
Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council TBC
Marlborough District Council No
Masterton District Council No
Matamata-Piako District Council No Only if building criteria is exceeded.
Napier City Council No It should be noted that a resource consent would be required if they exceed height in relation to boundary District Plan requirements.
Nelson City Council No
New Plymouth District Council
Northland Regional Council NA
Opotiki District Council Yes Building and resource consent See fees link 20 working days
Otago Regional Council Yes Building Based on value of work 20 working days
Otorohanga District Council TBC
Palmerston North City Council No
Porirua City Council No
Queenstown-Lakes District Council Maybe A resource consent is sometimes required depending on which zone it falls into. If the zone requires resource consent for the construction or external alterations to a building then a resource consent is likely required. This is the case in our rural zones and town centre zones, however in residential areas the council generally don’t require consent for the external appear of the building and no resource consent is required. 20 days
Rangitikei District Council No If the photovoltaic panels also form the roof cladding, a building consent will be required.
Ruapehu District Council Yes Building consent Based on value of work 20 working days
South Taranaki District Council No
South Waikato District Council No Except heritage buildings.
South Wairarapa District Council No Except heritage buildings.
Southland District Council No
Southland Regional Council No
Stratford District Council No
Taranaki Regional Council No
Tararua District Council No If the solar panels are on an independent structure, then building consent would be required if over 20 m2.
Tasman District Council Yes Building consent $250 inc GST 20 working days
Taupo District Council No
Tauranga City Council No
Thames-Coromandel District Council No
Timaru District Council No
Upper Hutt City Council No
Waikato District Council TBC
Waikato Regional Council No
Waimakariri District Council No
Waimate District Council No
Waipa District Council No
Wairoa District Council No If the PV panels also form the roof cladding, a building consent will be required for this work. Also if the building is a commercial building and it contains a specified system a building consent would be required.
Waitaki District Council No
Waitomo District Council No If the photovoltaic panels also form the roof cladding, a building consent will be required.
Wellington City Council No
Wellington Regional Council No
West Coast Regional Council TBC
Western Bay of Plenty District Council No
Westland District Council No
Whakatane District Council Yes Building consent No cost 20 working days
Whanganui District Council No Historic buildings will require building consent.
Whangarei District Council No No

Lines Company Regulations And Distributed Generation Fees

All lines companies require consents. If you are going to be exporting solar power to their power lines, then they need to know!

They want to make sure that the technical specifications of your system meet their prerequisites.

Lines companies on occasion reject grid connection requests based on the size of the system. Often, this will be resolved by installing a smaller system or installing a zero export device.

To find lines companies requirements, and applications forms for each area of New Zealand, please see the list below;

Last updated: 14th April 2021

Lines Company & The Link To Their DG Page Areas Serviced Application Fee GST Observation & Testing
Alpine Energy Geraldine, Temuka, Pleasant Point, Timaru, Twizel, Waimate $200 ex. $60
Aurora Dunedin, Alexandra, Cromwell, Queenstown, Arrowtown, Wanaka no fee - -
Buller Electricity Westport $100 ex. $60
Centralines Waipawa, Waipukurau $100 ex. $60
Counties Power Auckland (southern Papakura only), Pukekohe no fee - no fee
Eastland Network Gisborne, Wairoa $100 ex. -
Electra Foxton, Shannon, Levin, Otaki, Kapiti no fee no fee
Electricity Ashburton Ashburton $80 inc. $100
Horizon Energy Distribution Kawerau, Murupara, Edgecumbe, Whakatane, Opotiki $200 ex. -
The Lines Company Otorohanga, Te Kuiti, Mangakino, Taumarunui, Turangi, Ohakune $200 ex. $105
MainPower Kaikoura, Hanmer Springs, Oxford, Rangiora, Woodend, Kaiapoi no fee - MainPower do not offer inspection services
Marlborough Lines Blenheim, Picton $90 ex. $60
Nelson Electricity Nelson (CBD) no fee - -
Network Tasman Takaka, Motueka, Nelson (suburbs), Brightwater, Wakefield $100-$200 ex. $60
Network Waitaki Oamaru $115 inc. $60
Northpower Whangarei, Dargaville no fee -
Orion Christchurch, Lincoln, Rolleston, Darfield, Leeston $92 inc. -
OtagoNet (Managed by PowerNet) Milton, Balclutha $115 ex. $69
The Power Company (Managed by PowerNet) Gore, Te Anau, Winton, Riverton, Invercargill (outer suburbs) $115 inc. $69
Powerco Coromandel, Whitianga, Tairua, Thames, Whangamata, Paeroa, Waihi, Waihi Beach, Te Aroha, Morrinsville, Matamata, Putaruru, Tokoroa, Katikati, Tauranga, Te Puke, Waitara, New Plymouth, Inglewood, Stratford, Eltham, Opunake, Manaia, Hawera, Patea, Wanganui, Raetihi, Waiouru, Taihape, Marton, Bulls, Feilding, Palmerston North, Pahiatua, Masterton, Carterton, Greytown, Featherston, Martinborough no fee - no fee
PowerNet Invercargill City, Southland, West Otago, parts of Central Otago and Stewart Island $115 inc. $69
Scanpower Dannevirke, Woodville $200 ex. $60
Top Energy Taipa Bay-Mangonui, Kaitaia, Kerikeri, Russell, Paihia, Kawakawa, Moerewa, Kaikohe $115 inc. $69
Unison Networks Rotorua, Taupo, Napier, Hastings $100 ex. $60
Vector Wellsford, Warkworth, Snells Beach, Helensville, Waiheke Island, Auckland (excluding southern Papakura) no fee -
Waipa Networks Cambridge, Te Awamutu $200 inc. $60
WEL Networks Huntly, Raglan, Hamilton $100 ex. No inspection required.
Wellington Electricity Wellington, Porirua, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt $100 inc. $60
Westpower Reefton, Greymouth, Hokitika $100 ex. $60

Electrical Standards

There are several standards in which grid connect solar power systems must comply;

  • AS 4777.1:2005 Grid connection of energy systems via inverters.
  • AS/NZS 5033:2012 Installation and safety requirements of Photovoltaic (PV) arrays.
  • AS/NZS 3000:2007 Wiring rules.

Off-grid solar power systems must comply with;

  • AS/NZS 4509

Battery installations must comply with;

  • AS 4086
  • NZS 4219