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Reviews From Solar Power System Owners

We have asked people that brought a solar power system after getting 3 quotes through My Solar Quotes how their solar power systems are going! We asked:
What size system did you install?
How long has your solar power system been running for?
How did you find the solar installation?
How have you found the performance of the solar power system?
Do you have any other comments that you would like to share with New Zealanders thinking about going solar?

G & D, North Shore City, Auckland

G & D

Review Date: 23/11/2020

Size: 5kW

Running for: 3 months

Expected return on investment: 60%+

Expected pay back period: 7-8 years

Comments on the installation: "Barry Warmback & the team's service was prompt, efficient, effective, courteous & respectful."

Comments on the system performance: "The performance of the system (5kW including the battery) has been impressive and has already reduced our grid consumption and power bill."

Advice: "I would highly recommend adding a solar system to your property as it reduces power bills, adds value to your home and is good for the environment."

Jennifer, Auckland City, Auckland

Review Date: 11/11/2020

Size: 8 kW

Running for: 10 x panels 18 months and 8 x panels and battery 6 months

Expected pay back period: 8

Comments on the installation: "I found it stressful on both occasions. The installers were not properly prepared and have not installed things as I would have liked."

Comments on the system performance: "They have performed as I thought. We have saved at least $100 per month on power and I have used more than previously."

Advice: "I think it is worthwhile. It is better if power can be used as produced. I think the suppliers should pay more for the buy back as they are getting very cheap power."

Marina, Christchurch City, Canterbury

Review Date: 09/11/2020

Size: 5kW

Running for: 7 weeks

Expected pay back period: 6 - 7 years.

Comments on the installation: "Due to COVID lockdowns this took over 12 weeks please do not take this as a guideline for installation. I was very happy with the installers and they were very polite and very professional. Thankyou."

Comments on the system performance: "There has been a saving for the last month but I am expecting bigger savings in time as I have only had this for 7 weeks now."

Advice: "It is a long term investment but well worth it in all aspects. "

Kelvyn, Ashburton, Canterbury

Review Date: 09/11/2020

Size: 5.670kw

Running for: Since end of July 2020

Expected return on investment: 20 to 25%

Expected pay back period: 5yrs

Comments on the installation: "The install went very smoothly - great team of guys. Took day and half to complete"

Comments on the system performance: "Performance has been good. Over first two full months I saved $381 which is just slightly more than one months power bill, so saving is 50%. One of these months was very cloudy so I expect to save more as we get more consistent fine days "

Advice: "To get the most out of your system you need to have a Catch-power unit which will divert any surplus to heat your hot water before going back to grid. Further put in the smart meter. This allows you to see what you are generating and what you are pushing back to grid. It helps you re-train your use of appliances. Also on cloudy days you can see if you need to boost your hot water. I would recommend that you split the panels. We have 6 panels on east facing roof so we start generating power at sunrise (6.30am currently), and we have 12 panels on north facing roof. I would recommend putting up as many panels as you can fit. Also shop around power suppliers for best power rate they sell to you and best buy back rate. Be aware of 12 month great buy back offers - you will pay for it later. We went with Auric Electrical and Plains Power. Great service and good buy back rate as well as cheap rate on power you buy off them. "

Julie, Western Bay of Plenty, Bay Of Plenty

Review Date: 07/11/2020

Size: 4kW

Running for: 6weeks

Expected return on investment: Not sure and it's not important It's a bit like buying a car but it's cheaper than a car.

Expected pay back period: 5-6 years but it's not the point. The point is to be a bit more self sufficient as well as cut power costs.

Comments on the installation: "Installers are contractors so yes they were great. It took 6 weeks to get it all finalized and sorted so that it could be monitored using an app. Installation took 12 hours but then you have to wait until it gets inspected before it is switched on."

Comments on the system performance: "Huge difference! Power bill which was normally around $200 became $67. I was rapt to say the least. I was hoping that my power bill would drop to around 100. Am extremely impressed."

Advice: "Check Google reviews as they are the most independent and honest reviews. Wish I had done that then I would have even changed companies or known what to expect from my chosen company. Solar is a must and definitely worth doing especially when you own the system outright. I would not contemplate renting a system, cost wise it is not worth it."

Saveun, Waitakere City, Auckland

Review Date: 07/09/2020

Size: 2.5kw

Running for: 3months

Expected return on investment: 100 at some point..

Expected pay back period: 6-7 years

Comments on the installation: "Guys were good. The cabling isn't too hard on the eyes but will deal with this in future."

Comments on the system performance: "Has been ok coming out of winter.. looking forward to seeing how it goes over summer. Should have some $0 days ahead of us."

Advice: "You guys are providing a great service thanks. Keep doing what you're doing."

Bert, Whangarei, Northland

Review Date: 18/06/2020

Size: 5.3 w

Running for: 20 months

Expected return on investment: 22.5% actually measured - better than expected.

Expected pay back period: 5 years (less because our business got the GST back and gets to depreciate it).

Comments on the installation: "Yes. 6 Hours."

Comments on the system performance: "It has produced more than expected. We hoped to get approximately 4 hours of full output per day (average) and getting closer to 5 hours full output (average). Often get over 30 Kw hours/day. "

Advice: "Don't wait if you can afford it. Electricity prices are only going to go up."

clifford, Rodney, Auckland

Review Date: 12/06/2020

Size: 4.6 kW

Running for: 2 weeks

Expected return on investment: have not calculated yet

Expected pay back period: This was not a reason for installing the use of savings to enhance the value of our home was.

Comments on the installation: "Quite good though we had one callback to improved tie down of panels on a very exposed roof. However it took 2 weeks for an electrical inspector to sign system off."

Comments on the system performance: "looks good so far but no power bills yet."

Advice: "Very good. Today with an overcast sky and watery winter sunshine we were generating 1.8 kW. Because of the location of our house it is very difficult for me to take a good photo. I will try and get one of my Grandsons to do it sometime."

Chris, Waikato, Waikato

Review Date: 23/03/2020

Size: 5.7kW

Running for: 3 Years 4 Months, Tesla 13. KW battery installed for 5months

Expected return on investment: Emphasis of self sufficiency, self sustainability. ROI not part of this framework

Expected pay back period: Estimated 10 to 15 years depending on future power prices

Comments on the installation: "Original PVL installation, inverter etc. Part of house build and tied into construction of roof etc in late 2016 Installation of Tesla Battery 3 years later in November 2019. Installation time 7 hours."

Comments on the system performance: "Maximum daily production is 41kWH. Summer sunny days 25 to 40kWh Winter sunny days to 20k30Wh Annual production 6600 to 7000 kWh. With battery installed we have had no electricity bills now for 3 months. Some grid use but this is covered by revenue from electricity sales. Winter situation with battery is yet to be proven and will be more of a challenge. I will probably configure consumption finer to aim towards self sufficiency. So far a very satisfactory and exciting result. Tesla monthly Powerwall stats show 84 to 98 percentage self sufficiency over last 3 months "

Advice: "I would be wary of the dangers of accidental retro fitting of solar capacity. Architects need to take more notice and responsibility and solar capacity should be designed and structured into house design from the very beginning. Adding solar capacity as a feature retrospectively is flawed logic in my view and probably produces some poor results, if the truth be known. We have a very satisfactory outcome, but we did the thinking three years before the house construction began. PVL (photo voltaic laminate strips are a more satisfactory offering than PV panels for a number of reasons.) The price of PVL has been too high in the past but are becoming more satisfactory now. PVL and roof design must be integrated."

Brian, Napier, Hawkes Bay

Review Date: 15/03/2020

Size: 4.62

Running for: 3 months

Expected return on investment: 15%

Expected pay back period: 7.5 years

Comments on the installation: "Through your website, requesting quotes from 3 installers."

Comments on the system performance: "Yes it is producing a little over budget so far. Power bills were around $150 to $180 per month, but now around $45 to $50 per month including free charging of our electric car which we bought when we installed solar panels."

Advice: "Panels are more efficient and lower priced than ever. If you are retired, it is really a no brainer. Charge your electric car, wash dishes, wash clothes, etc, during peak of the day."

AJAY, Far North, Northland

Review Date: 05/01/2020

Size: 3kW

Running for: 2 months

Expected return on investment: 12

Expected pay back period: 6 years

Comments on the installation: "Three quarters of a day"

Comments on the system performance: "Performance is excellent so far. Savings has not showed up in my bill as yet. "

Advice: "Government should subsidised this initiative "

Sarah , Waitaki, Otago

Review Date: 02/12/2019

Size: 6.4W

Running for: 2 months

Expected return on investment: 10%

Expected pay back period: 10.5 years

Comments on the installation: "Took awhile before parts arrived to be installed but once they got going it was fast "

Comments on the system performance: "To early to tell "

Advice: "Definitely do your own independent research as they all tell you their products are superior "

Andy, Kapiti Coast, Wellington

Review Date: 13/09/2019

Size: 4kW

Running for: 3 months

Expected return on investment: Not yet determined

Expected pay back period: Not yet determined

Comments on the installation: "Installers were good. The whole process took a bit longer than expected but was up and running in a couple of weeks."

Comments on the system performance: "The solar system is producing about the amount of power I expected. However, as we've a 3 phase system, the process set up by Electricity Authority provides that each phase is treated separately and there isn't a netting of imports and exports. This results in net power exported on each phase being compensated for separately and net power consumed on each phase being charged separately. If you have a 3 phase power installation the best way to take advantage of all solar power generated is to install a 3 phase battery, which costs more than the rest of the solar installation. "

Advice: "If you've a 3 phase system the only ways you can take advantage of the majority of your solar generated power are: 1. have a 3 phase inverter and a 3 phase battery 2. only have the inverter on the phase that has the greatest load. You may need to shift the load around the phases. A 3 phase battery would have cost us around $14k, which is $2k greater than the cost of the solar array and inverter. In most parts of Australia in 3 phase domestic systems all the power generated is netted off from that used providing much greater savings to the owner. As the NZ system is set up now it is a real bonus for the power companies as, with 3 phase systems, they're getting quite a lot more solar generated power that is difficult for the person generating to use. Also, I've found I need to be more organised to take advantage of solar power doing things like running the dishwasher during the day and running as many other items that use considerable power also during daylight hours. If some items are on the same phase then you might look to stagger when they're operating."

John, North Shore City, Auckland

Review Date: 23/08/2019

Size: 3kW, 10 panels, no batteries

Running for: 11 weeks

Expected return on investment: 5% ? Not an investment but better use of my money as a one-off than going into ever increasing power costs.

Expected pay back period: 5-6 years

Comments on the installation: "No hassles, great job and went quickly and well, taking half a day. Water heater iBoost clamp meter fitted to wrong cable so no saving shown on hot water until rectified by Engineer when queried weeks later. The company Solar Engineer has been very helpful and was fixed day after complaint. Estimated compensation provided so no real loss. Some weeks delay from panel installation and fast inspection (on the next Saturday) to activation because power company did not advise that the new import/export meter had been fitted. The supplier was the middle cost of the three quotes and all otherwise extra charges (new meter supply and installation, iBoost hot water controller, web-site monitoring, and best buy-back commercial rate?) were included. It is also one of the large retail power companies so is likely to still be around for any future maintenance or issues."

Comments on the system performance: "Performance okay but less saving than expected, though it presently is autumn/winter so expecting improvements. It is fortunate that we are home during daylight hours to get max benefit. Handy analytic website shows about 200kW savings per month so far. It is hard to estimate dollar saving yet as the new power prices had just kicked in at the same time with a new contract so can't easily compare before and after. This was the main reason for looking into solar to reduce future price hikes. Winter has early afternoon panel shading that drastically reduces output (as expected)."

Advice: "Not much benefit without battery backup in a working household where power is not used much during daylight generating hours except for water heating. Would need to setup a battery charging system to provide night power. Daytime solar would go the water heating and battery charging. Would recommend fitting an 'iBoost' or similar hot water controller that only diverts power to the cylinder when in excess, but can also provide programmed or manual grid supply top-up if needed."

Robert & Sarah, Hastings, Hawkes Bay

Review Date: 07/08/2019

Size: 3.4kw

Running for: 4 weeks

Expected return on investment: 11.6

Expected pay back period: 7.8

Comments on the installation: "1 day, but over 2 days due to weather. Very good and careful installers. Neat and tidy work with a very good attitude. Issue with wifi dropping out resolved quickly "

Comments on the system performance: "Too early to say, as I don’t have accurate bills yet, but have seen a significant drop in consumption"

Advice: "Do your homework on being able to shift your consumption to during daylight hours, use timers on water heaters, dishwashers washing machines and pool pumps. If you can, battery not needed."

A & S, Thames-Coromandel, Waikato

Review Date: 31/07/2019

Size: 3.6kW Enphase Micro Inverter System

Running for: approximately 3 months

Expected return on investment: A heap better than the 3.5% we were getting on the money when it was in the bank.

Expected pay back period: 8 years

Comments on the installation: "Good, a very professional installer. Prompt and organised. Quicker than we expected."

Comments on the system performance: "Better than expected as we installed at the beginning of winter. All power bills reduced. Daily production in winter has been up to 50% of usage on best days down to an average of about 25-33% most days. There have been some days of less than 10% which you would expect in winter."

Advice: "Go for it. If you are at home during the day, you will definitely save money."

Sue, Hastings, Hawkes Bay

Review Date: 27/07/2019

Size: 2.68kw

Running for: 2 months

Expected return on investment: This did not feature in our decision.

Expected pay back period: This did not feature in our decision

Comments on the installation: "On line. They were very respectful of the property.. It took half a day."

Comments on the system performance: "20% versus my interest in the bank 3 %. No brainer. Roughly $100 a power bill. "

Advice: "If you are a person over 65 with only the bank to put excess funds in, this is a great option. Monthly bills are halved for us, and it’s winter."

John, Tauranga, Bay Of Plenty

Review Date: 23/07/2019

Size: 5KW

Running for: 10 months

Expected return on investment: 8% to 10%

Expected pay back period: 10 years. Including battery storage unit.

Comments on the installation: "The installers were great to deal with and communicated well."

Comments on the system performance: "We are nearly energy independent.That is also running a pure EV car."

Advice: "You need to have long term glasses on to commit to the outlay.My main motivation was to reduce the need to made on going power payments when retired."

Alison, Western Bay of Plenty, Bay Of Plenty

Review Date: 10/07/2019

Size: 5v battery. 12 solar panels.

Running for: 3 months

Expected return on investment: no idea - it was money I had in the bank and the savings in power bills will be greater than the interest I would get on the outlay.

Expected pay back period: 10

Comments on the installation: "The installers were brilliant - polite, helpful and went out of their way to not disrupt the household (at the time I had visitors staying0."

Comments on the system performance: "The first power bill I had was higher than I expected (ie much the same as the previous one) and I queried this - the hot water setting had been put so that it was heating from the battery/grid so once that was changed my next bill was $56 instead of $86. Now that the buyback rate has gone up slightly, I would expect to keep the bills lower than that and really reap the benefits as we go into longer days and summer."

Advice: "I can only recommend it if people can afford the outlay. It's way better than keeping the money in the bank. I'm fortunate that I could have the money ready but that was after many years of work, frugal living and saving. I look forward to being able to run the air conditioner in my new (to me) house whereas last summer I was too scared of the power bills to do this when it was really hot. I can keep track of how much power I'm using and make sure that I use as much from the roof as possible - i.e. use the oven during the day when the sun is high etc. It takes a little bit of getting used to but is not a problem."

Ian, Timaru, Canterbury

Review Date: 24/05/2019

Size: 3 kw

Running for: Two months

Expected return on investment: 100

Expected pay back period: 6 years

Comments on the installation: "Took three occasions to finally finish took over two months ,two months to pay back meter cost "

Comments on the system performance: "A bit late in the season ask next year "

Advice: "Solar I feel is the way to go along with solar water heater "

Sandamali, Waitakere City, Auckland

Review Date: 19/05/2019

Size: 3kw

Running for: 6 weeks

Expected return on investment: 10%

Expected pay back period: 11 years

Comments on the installation: "It took them a few tries to get everything right and deliver what had been agreed on. Wish it had been more streamlined and didn't require so much toing and froing. "

Comments on the system performance: "System is not producing more than 2.6kw at any given time even when it is at the most sunniest. I know it is autumn, so waiting to get a full years worth of data before deciding something is wrong. I am saving about $40 per month of my $150 power bill. It requires a lot of thinking and planning to maximise day time usage. "

Advice: "Do you research and don't believe what the solar companies tell you. A consumption monitoring system is a must and try to go for a good brand of panel and inverter. Get quotes from different companies and figure out the differences in what they recommend and learn from it. I ended up combining the best of all the systems recommended and finding a company that would deliver it. It did mean that my installer didn't have much experience in the brand of inverter I wanted, so I had to figure out how to make things work on my own from where they left. off. The installers aren't used to being challenged, but do it anyway. The more you learn about solar, the better off you would be. Solar is not worth getting if you are not on electric for everything in your home, including heating and hot water. A hot water diverter instead of a timer is a worthwhile investment. "

Frank, Invercargill, Southland

Review Date: 25/04/2019

Size: 5.695kW with 13.5kWh battery

Running for: Panels 5 Mar 2019 and Battery 17 App 2019

Expected return on investment: Break even

Expected pay back period: 20 years because of battery

Comments on the installation: "Harrison's Southland were fantastic, excellent to deal with, prompt, responsive to questions and left property tidy."

Comments on the system performance: "About as expected. Yes saved money and once battery was in had three days of no power from the grid. To early to determine savings because of period of time but 3 Mar to 4 April we used 376kWh from grid and returned 476kWh to the grid (of course low buy back tariff means it is not equal). Still have changes to make, remove spare fridge and change light bulbs to LED plus change to low user plan, perhaps a time based plan where different rates for off peak (Tesla battery can manage when to store and draw from grid too maximise this)."

Philippa , Tauranga, Bay Of Plenty

Review Date: 19/03/2019

Size: 6 kW

Running for: 3 months

Expected return on investment: not sure

Expected pay back period: not sure

Comments on the installation: "installer was very good neat and tidy "

Comments on the system performance: "yes performaning well "

Advice: "it was a very easy process and so far so good "

Wim, Tasman, Nelson/Tasman

Review Date: 24/02/2019

Size: 3.5KWh

Running for: months

Expected return on investment: ?

Expected pay back period: 6

Comments on the installation: "very professional"

Comments on the system performance: "about 70% savings so far (but will be less in winter)"

Advice: "Awaiting developments of electric car batteries that can power the house during night time."