Is Solar Power a Good Idea for your Home?

Brent Palmer
Published on November 22, 2016

Is Solar Power a Good Idea for your Home?

This is becoming a more and more common question these days, and there is no easy answer.  It really is still a case by case basis.  Prices for Solar Power haven’t come down enough yet for there to be a conclusive answer for everyone.  It’s dependent on several factors

  • Are you home during the day
  • Are you a high energy user
  • Do you have an appropriate setting for the panels

If you answer yes to these questions, then it’s worth considering.   However, before you do make sure you have completed other energy saving tactics as they would provide a much faster return – such as insulation, changing to LED lights or moving to a more efficient form of heating and upgrading appliances to those with the energy star mark.

They say it’s about 5 – 7 years for an average $10,000 solar panel system to pay for itself, so it’s a long-term investment.  However, make sure you do the sums for your own situation.  When I did the solar power calculations it was looking more like 15 years before it would pay for itself.

There is certainly a bit of a feel good factor involved – the benefits to the environment and not necessarily your own pocket.  But consider also that with many of our power resources from the grid becoming more and more sustainable themselves with wind and hydro power, it’s only in peak periods that we turn to gas and coal reserves.  However, it’s certainly becoming a more popular option for people, especially with schemes like Solar City.


In the year to March 31, 2013, connections have nearly quadrupled since 2011, according to Sustainable Electricity Association of New Zealand (SEANZ) figures.  About 40 to 50 home solar power systems were being installed every month, creating a $44.5m a year industry.  In 2015 New Zealand reached the point where Solar Panels provided “grid parity” (meaning the same cost of power from rooftop solar panels is now equal to or less than power from the grid).

However, this is also dependent on how quickly you use the power you create.  If you’re having to buy power back in the evenings for heating, cooking etc, that’s where this becomes unstuck and the buyback rates from the power companies come into effect.  These seem to be reducing and aren’t regulated, so there is no guarantee that the buyback rates won’t reduce further.  Bills have been put forward in Parliament by the Green Party to prevent this, but so far it hasn’t got through, due to the fear that it would hike the cost of power overall.

But what about energy independence?  With the recent earthquakes in New Zealand surely this type of power source must be more and more attractive?  The problem is that solar panels linked to the grid won’t work in a power cut, and the cost of the batteries is prohibitive for most – but watch this space.  It sounds like there are developments in this area, and the cost could come down in the not too distant future.

So if you’re considering solar panels, then keep an eye on the developments in this technology, as the cost is likely to come down.  And if you do go that way, then you really have to ensure you can use your power appropriately, perhaps by using timers to work high drainage appliances during the day, ie dishwashers, pool pumps.


But the big question is, does the installation of solar panels increase the value of your real estate and make a buyer pay more for your home?  Not many homes with solar have resold yet so it is hard to tell what premium they are getting. If we go back 10 years and look at double glazing there weren’t many homes that had it. Fast forward to 2016 and double glazing is more the norm and many older homes have been retrofitted. Will this be the same for solar power in 10 years from now?

It can also depend on the market.  When it’s a sellers’ market and there isn’t a huge choice of homes for buyers to choose from, then homes don’t need a big point of difference to obtain a premium price.  But when it’s a buyers’ market and you need to stand out from the crowd – then yes solar panels would definitely give you an advantage over your competitors when it comes to selling your home.

About the Author: The above article on Is Solar Power a Good Idea for your Home was written and provided by Brent Palmer, a local leader in the field of Richmond and Nelson Real Estate sales, marketing, advanced technology for home selling, and social media.

You can contact Brent Palmer here, or at 027 544 9921. He has helped many people buy and sell homes in the Nelson, Stoke and Richmond areas for years, and would love the opportunity to help you as well.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a real passion for helping people sell their homes in our Nelson and Tasman Region, as well as the marketing, social media & advanced technology for home selling that goes along with it. I’d love to have the opportunity to sit down with you discuss how we can work together to get you the best price.

I help people buy and sell real estate in the following Nelson and Tasman  towns  & neighbourhoods: Wakefield, Brightwater, Hope, Appleby, Redwood Valley, Mapua, Stoke, Tahunanui, Atawhai and of course, Richmond and Nelson City.

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