This buyback rates listed below are now out of date. For Meridian's current buyback rates click here.
As of the 8th of April 2013, Meridian's new pricing scheme for people selling solar power back to the grid in New Zealand has come into effect, as explained in this blog article Meridian's but back rate changes for solar power. Not only will prices change, but Meridian will start promoting solar power micro generation as they are "committed to supporting solar".
For a lot of Meridian customers who already have a solar power system, their return on investment will not change much, but for those with systems that produce more power than they use their return on investment is likely to drop slightly.
With the previous one to one buy back rate, generally the larger the solar power system you installed, the higher return on investment you received. This is not necessarily the case anymore.
Below is a chart that shows your solar power return on investment with Meridian's new pricing (click the link at the top of the article for a larger chart). The chart includes different system sizes and both of these variables: IF: all of the solar power was exported to the grid (green) and IF: All of the solar power was consumer directly (yellow). Note: The price for installed systems below are rough average prices. These calculations are also based off a system installed in Auckland, with panels facing north at a 25 degree angle.
The scenario of exporting all of your power to grid is more unlikely because even if you are not home, people normally have a fridge operating which will be consuming power during the day. The section in green is the lowest possible return on your investment, but for a lot of people the return on investment should be somewhere between the green and yellow figures, so someone with a 5kW system is likely to get return on investment around 9.34%.
The yellow section shows the scenario of someone consuming all of their power as it is produced if their normal cost of power was $0.28 a unit. A company that operates during the day, Monday through to Sunday is likely to use all of the power generated. People that are home during the day or work from home are more likely to reach the figures in the yellow area.
Of course there are things you can do to get closer to the return on investment rates highligted in yellow. For example you could set a timer on your applicances like your washing machine, dishwasher and hot water cylinder heater to operate during the middle of the day.
Meridian's new pricing does not necessarily negatively affect those in the solar power generation market, it only makes picking a solar power system for your roof a different exercise. The new general rule will be; go for a smaller sized system if you are not likely to be using much of the solar power directly and if you are likely to use the solar power straight away then go larger / try to match your power consumption to a system size that will make as much power as you consume.
If you would like to see figures for other regions please comment below.
Click here for the related stuff.co.nz news article.