Cold call from NZ Home Services, Solar installations?

7 years 1 week ago #531829 by spark

max2 wrote:

spark wrote: I

Also, there are ways to have solar power and grid power in the same premises, without having the solar connected to the grid, thus avoiding the high monthly line charges that grid-tied solar can incur.

I would be interested in hearing more about that please (new thread perhaps?).

See here:
The following user(s) said Thank You: max2

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7 years 2 days ago #532026 by footinmouth
Networks (the owners of the power lines) set the network charges. They also maintain the lines and the network. Electricity retailers in most areas (not all) invoice the consumers the network charges and pass these on to the network.

The networks
  • own and maintain the meters
  • own and maintain the lines
  • increase the network fees ever 1 April
  • Are separate to the Electricity Retailers

Because solar systems feed back into the grid and network charges are based on consumption, many networks are now considering charging extra to owners of solar systems to cover actual cost of maintaining the network.

Electricity retailers
  • sell electricity
  • pass on charges

Just to be absolutely clear, this is not a tax.

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7 years 2 days ago #532029 by spark
The distribution network must be engineered to handle peak electricity demand (typically occurs around breakfast and dinner times), and it is peak demand which determines the required size of the transformers, cables, etc (think big $$$ capital expenditure!), whilst the total energy (kWh) transferred has little effect on the cost of the distribution network.

Smart meters used to be horrendously expensive (back in the 1990's they used to only be found on large industrial/commercial sites), so residential network charges were/are based on a "swings and round-abouts" system of assuming all households have a similar "load factor" ( ) and levying a network charge per kWh of electricity used because there was no cost effective way of measuring each household's peak demand.

However, now that grid-tied solar is common, households with grid tied solar tend to buy less kWh from the network, so they pay less network charges under the old swings and round-abouts system, whilst their peak demand can be as high as a household that does not have grid-tied solar (ie lower load factor - sun not shining during peak load periods so peak time power demand from the grid is just as high as in a home without solar). So, some distribution networks (eg Unison) have decided to charge households with grid-tied solar a higher fixed monthly charge to compensate for the presumed lower load factor of these customers.

I would not be surprised if once everyone has smart meters, that the networks start charging everyone on the basis of their peak demand (large industrial and commercial customers have already been charged for peak demand for many years now). I think that peak demand charging is probably fairer to customers with solar than the new regime of higher fixed charged. The incentive of course would be for households (whether they have solar or not) to save money by trying to avoid turning lots of energy intensive appliances on at the same time, especially during peak consumption times when everyone else is using lots of power...

Typically industrial/commercial customers with peak demand billing get hit with two types of demand charges:
AMD (Anytime Maximum Demand) which is based on the 30 minute period in which you used the most power in the billing month
CPD (Co-incident Peak Demand) which is based on the 30 minute period (during peak electricity consumption time) in which you used the most power in the billing month.
eg if AMD was charged at say $5/kWh and CPD was charged at $20/kWh, and outside of peak consumption hours, the most power you used in any 30 min period was 3 kWh and the most power you used in a 30 min period during peak hours was 2 kWh then you would have $15 for AMD and $40 for CPD added to your power bill for that month for your use of the network.

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7 years 1 day ago #532035 by Ruth
To the original matter: the cold calling Australian failed to call back as arranged. Then a couple of days ago, there was another call, which I didn't take, to 'offer' us the same opportunity. I still haven't caught up with the friend who did consent to the visit from their travelling rep in our area. Seems there wasn't quite the time pressure urged in the first call. Who'd have thought?

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6 years 11 months ago #532112 by Basic Energy
I totally agree that you can have alternative energy and grid power in the same premises without having the system connected to the grid. I have done this with my own premise. To me, there is no advantage in supplying any electricity back to the grid. If you have surplus energy, you can either store this in batteries or use your water heater as your battery bank (another storage system). This is achieved using an energy management system. Any energy that you produce and use is providing you with energy at the highest rate (your savings) that your power company normally charge you.

I have noted the discussion re batteries. There is a suitable alternative battery at a reasonable cost. This is a lead/carbon battery - developed by the lead/acid battery industry. As a general rule, a lead/acid battery will provide a 5 year service life, a lithium/ion battery will provide 10 years and a lead/carbon will provide 15 -20 years life. The advantages of lead/carbon is: ability to be rapidly charged and discharged, can be taken down to zero volts with minimal effect on the life of the battery, requires minimal maintenance and the biggest advantage is that it is comfortable sitting for a long period in a "partial state of charge"." PSOC" is what kills most other battery systems and is often experienced with lead/acid systems in winter, especially with solar only systems. A large number of battery systems are also installed incorrectly due to lack of knowledge by installers. They should never be installed directly onto the ground or on a concrete floor as it is important to maintain battery temperature between 15 - 30 degrees, for optimum performance. Configuration of battery wiring can also provide extended battery life. Depending on geographical area where an installation is, insulation below and around the batteries may be necessary.

I have installed a wind/solar system which provides me with up to 24 hour generation. This system also provides additional wind generation during winter months, when solar generation is lower. The wind component commences generation at 2 m/s, a light breeze, compared to most wind generators. If anyone is interested in further info, I can be contacted by emailing me at I would prefer not to discuss peoples personal issues (about alternative energy systems), through a public forum. I am happy to make general comment through this forum.

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6 years 11 months ago #532114 by spark
I've never heard of lead-carbon cells before, though I found the following IEEE paper on the subject, which may be of interest to anyone with a technical bent:

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6 years 11 months ago #532117 by Basic Energy
I'm not surprised that you have not heard of these batteries - not many people have. They have been available in NZ for about 3 years, but I only learnt of their existence in the last year. I believe that the lead/acid industry would prefer to sell a product with a higher turnover.

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6 years 11 months ago #532126 by mangapuna
We went with these people and wished we hadn't. There seems to be no customer service after the installation has gone in. We wish we had gone with someone from our own area.

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