To help our customers that may be experiencing energy hardship, Kāinga Ora has begun to trial solar panels on selected homes across the country. The benefits are two fold, helping reduce energy costs for our customers, while increasing the sustainability of our homes.

The trial has kicked off with 100 public homes in the Wellington region. To date, solar panels have been installed on 17 public homes in Lower Hutt and Porirua, with the remaining 83 expected to be installed by August.

In addition to Wellington, two new Kāinga Ora homes in Hawke’s Bay had solar panels installed in November last year as part of the trial.

“We are planning more solar panels throughout the country and expect approximately 1,000 homes by 2024” says Alec Tang, Director of Sustainability.

“We plan to monitor the effectiveness of these systems for up to two years to help understand how we can use this technology to support customers to live well in their homes.

“We know many of our customers are affected by energy hardship and there are a number of reasons for this in our homes.

“However, the key reasons are that our customers cannot afford the amount of energy required to keep their homes warm, and they are worried about what their power bill might look like if they do use heating.  The solar panels could help that.”

The savings that can be achieved will vary from household to household, depending on the specific system installed and the customer’s energy use. We estimate that savings for our customers in Wellington could be in the order of $700 to $850 per year.

The solar panels are to be installed on selected new homes, retrofitted homes and apartments across the country.

In addition to the free energy produced by the solar panels, these homes will also be selling un-used energy back to their energy supplier, which can be used in the grid.

“However, we are also looking at how this excess power can be used to help other homes in the community that don’t have panels installed. We want to see if it’s possible to share this energy to other homes, rather than have them using more expensive energy from the grid”, says Alec.

“The trial is about helping community as much as it is helping individuals’ households.”

Editors Note:

While the solar panels have been sourced internationally, Kāinga Ora has also done their due diligence to ensure the panels and the materials used have been ethically sourced.

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Page updated: 6 April 2022