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Its time to go solar in Christchurch


Mayor of Dunedin Aaron Hawkins has recently stated that the results of the latest Dunedin Energy Study highlight the need for urgent, community-wide action to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

The Dunedin City Council-funded study – undertaken by the University of Otago’s Centre for Sustainability – analysed the city’s energy consumption in the year to 30 June 2019.

According to Centre Director, Associate Professor Janet Stephenson, the latest research identified some worrying energy use trends. The city’s energy use is tracking mostly in the wrong direction – diesel consumption and carbon emissions are up, while renewable energy use and energy efficiency is down.

Report co-author and Otago PhD candidate Felix Cook says that in comparison to 2015/16, when the annual study began, energy use has become less efficient; energy consumption per capita has increased an average of 3.25 per cent per year, and energy consumption per unit of GDP has increased nearly 2 per cent per year.

There are, however, some bright spots such as more solar generation and electric vehicle registrations.

Over this period, the proportion of use of non-renewable fuels in Dunedin’s energy supply has increased from 63 per cent to 67 per cent. Diesel use is the biggest factor behind this, increasing 12 per cent between 2017/18 and 2018/19 alone. LPG use has also doubled since 2015/16. Overall, energy-related carbon emissions have increased at an average rate of nearly 4 per cent per year.

Stephenson says the report’s findings are not all bad.

Bright spots include an upward trend for solar generation, with photovoltaic units increasing by 17 per cent (to 384 installations) over 2018/19.

Electric vehicle registrations have steadily increased every year since 2015, to a total of 799 by the end of the 2019 calendar year.

New Zealand is well-placed for solar energy

Victoria University of Wellington’s Alan Brent has been looking at how New Zealand’s solar resources can be used more effectively to address energy demand in our transitioning economy.

Over the past decade, mean annual solar radiation data were captured in the Land Resource Information Systems (LRIS) portal. Also, further advances in satellite-modelled data prompted a revisit of the resource across the country with the development of a more detailed solar atlas of New Zealand, an initiative of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington in collaboration with Solargis.

To put it into perspective, New Zealand’s solar resource is, in general, better than that of Japan or southern France, regions with significant uptake of solar technologies.

It is then not surprising we have also seen growth of just under 30 percent in 2018 and 2019 in the uptake of PV systems.

The residential sector has been the key driver for solar PV installations, accounting for over 70 percent of installed capacity at the end of 2019. The rate of solar uptake by other market segments – small and medium enterprises, commercial and industrial – increased at an even higher or similar rate to residential use, but from a much lower base.

What does this mean for Christchurch?

There are a few exceptional reasons why switching to solar is a sensible and worthwhile brilliant decision:

  • Solar energy systems are currently the easiest available option towards a household’s eco-friendly lifestyle
  • Despite common misconceptions, solar panels do work in winters. In fact, these panels work more efficiently in cooler temperatures as long as there is sunshine.
  • Solar panels are a good investment in saving up on electricity in the longer run.
  • There are no by-products, no toxins, and no effect on the environment whatsoever.

Solar technology has proven to not only be the most efficient energy alternative, but it is also an extremely profitable and reliable investment.

Skilled Electrical established Endless Energy to create a sustainable future with Solar Power, and to make the transition process for homes across Canterbury as seamless as possible. We are passionate about contributing to a world that does not depend on power from fossil fuels and continue to spread awareness on the eco-friendly alternatives.

Find out more about switching to solar power here.

You can read the Dunedin Energy Study press release here:


The Dunedin Energy Study 2018/19 is available online at:


You can read more about Alan Brent’s work here:


About Skilled Electrical

We are a team of electricians in Christchurch and provide electrical services across Canterbury. Our services include residential electrical services, property maintenance and repairs, commercial and industrial electrical work, heat pumps and ventilation, solar and renewable energy and more.

Looking for electrical services in Christchurch or Canterbury? Contact us.