A whirlwind week has come to a close and it's safe to say this year's SEANZ solar conference was a huge success. A diverse range of speakers graced the stage, and a deserving line up of winners took home awards, it was a treat for all involved.
The conference kick started on Thursday (September 27th) with a development and training seminar that began with Graham Moor, the CEO of Roof Association NZ, discussing Roof Penetration standards. Graham gave the solar industry folks (author included!) a few insights into how their industry works, and some top tips for roofing penetration.
On Friday, we awoke to the news that first presenter Megan Woods wouldn't be able to fulfil her speaking spot, due to political conundrums which she needed to attend to. Megan Wood's speaker role was taken over by Michael Wood, the Under-Secretary to the Minister for Ethnic Communities.
Brendan Winitana started the day with a motivational speech, with the key message being that the energy industry is ready and ripe for change. Followed by Michael Wood's (last minute & informative) presentation, was an insightful presentation by ex-minister Simon Corbell, the Renewable Energy Advocate from VIC Australia. Simon talked about the hurdles the solar industry in Australia has faced, their successes and failures of Government incentives for solar, and the booming industry in Australia at present.
My own presentation was about Market Insights, discussing my experiences and using collected data to help explain to industry folk the motivations and hurdles solar shoppers/consumers may experience.
Keeping the audience on the edge of their seats was Andrew Caseley, CEO of EECA. Andrews presentation outlined the current state of renewable energy in New Zealand and the uptake of electric vehicles. Many a question was fired at Andrew at the end of his presentation, most were from concerned audience members questioning the controversial solar calculator that EECA promote. The numbers that the solar calculator produce are far from the recommended numbers the industry suggests. EECA's calculator has most of the solar industry frustrated and face-palming. As Andrew described it, it was "like walking into a lion's den". His comment certainly summarised the situation accurately.
The day ended with networking drinks, a lovely meal, and of course the awards ceremony. Below is the list of winners, and here is the link to the SEANZ website to see the details of each winner.
Overall it was a great conference that we hope everyone enjoyed. We are proud to be apart of the diverse community that is the solar power industry of New Zealand.
SEANZ 2018 Award Winners
From the left: Brendan Winitana (SEANZ Chairman), Roger Simons (On behalf of Vector), Clayton McNae (McNae Electrical), David Reid (Reid Technology), Ben Stanton (PowerGenius), Simon Mackenzie (Vector), Keshia Noronho (Fronius), Rena Kuys (Sunergise) and Micah Sherman (Infratec)
1. Best Off Grid Installation
Winner - Sunergise for Kaibu (Fiji).
2. Best grid-connected installation
Winner- Reid Technology and Genesis Energy for Kenehi on Bryce
3. Best solar and storage grid
Winner - Reid Technology for Moroni High School
4. Dave Keppel Innovation Award
Winner - PowerGenius Home Energy Management System
5. Best Small Business
Winner - McNae Electrical, Palmerston North
Praised as reputable, reliable and professional solar integrators that service the Manawatu's solar industry needs, McNae Electrical contribute to the New Zealand solar industry at large.
6. Best Sustainable Energy Innovation
Winner - Vector for the Vector lights on Auckland Harbour Bridge
7. Best Community Energy Project
Winner - Infratec for the Southern Group Cook Islands Project - Atiu, Mangaia, Mauke and Mitiaro
8. Industry person of the year
Winner - Simon Mackenzie, CEO Vector