New Christchurch public homes harness solar energy to save residents money on power bills

New Christchurch public homes harness solar energy to save residents money on power bills

On Friday, twenty new public homes which will share solar energy collected on their roofs and are built to a high-efficiency standard, have been opened on Christchurch’s Riccarton Road , by the Minister of Housing Hon Dr Megan Woods

The three-storey building is the first high-density Full Universal Design complex built by Kāinga Ora in Christchurch and will provide a much-needed boost to housing stock in the city.

Through the Government’s Māori and Public Housing Renewable Energy fund, they will also benefit from the first Allume SolShare installation in New Zealand. This is world-first technology that enables the sharing of rooftop solar being used in New Zealand for the first time.

“We are focused on building public homes that are warm, efficient, and accessible in well-connected areas close to transport and shops and amenities. These homes have been built to a high 8 Homestar rating,” Woods said.

“The Chris Hipkins Government is also committed to seeing more communities benefit from renewable energy to save households money. Estimates show that this system will save tenants around $350-$400 each year on their power bills.

“An advantage of the technology is that it doesn’t restrict the customers’ choice of electricity retailer, and there’s no need to sign up for additional billing services or platforms, so nothing changes for customers other than their power bill,” Woods said.

Placements for the one-bedroom apartments are currently underway, with people starting to move into the new units in from mid-July.

In the past three years, Kāinga Ora has delivered a total of 77 public homes in the Riccarton area. Across Christchurch city, Kāinga Ora has delivered 865 public homes in the past five years. There are 1105 public homes in the pipeline until 2024/25.

Notes to Editor:

Key facts about the solar installation

  • This project has been funded by the Māori and Public Housing Renewable Energy fund. The solar array size is 34.425 kWp, consisting of 85 solar photovoltaic panels. The system also includes two Fronius inverters and two Allume Solshare units.
  • The solar installation provides electricity to 20 apartments and to the common areas in the building.
  • Dual element hot water cylinders and timers have also been installed in apartments, to further increase the benefit that customers can get from heating their hot water while the solar energy is being generated.
  • Kāinga Ora has done due diligence on the polysilicon supply chain of the panels used to ensure that our projects are using the most ethically-sourced panels available. REC Alpha Pure panels were used in this installation. These panels are among the few lead-free and RHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) certified panels available on the market.

About the Kāinga Ora renewable energy programme

  • Kāinga Ora is currently trialling solar panel opportunities on stand-alone homes and apartment complexes across the country. The Kāinga Ora renewable energy trials are funded until mid-2024 through the Government’s ‘Māori and Public Housing Renewable Energy Fund’.
  • Key objectives for these trials include reducing energy costs, promoting customer health and wellbeing, and improving knowledge on the costs, benefits, barriers and design options for distributed energy solutions on public housing.
  • In selecting homes or complexes for its renewable energy trials, Kāinga Ora considers a number of factors, including roof orientation and condition, and housing typology and location.
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