New Zealand – Breaking the Renewable Energy Record.

Wellington, New Zealand – It was reported by the country’s energy minister last Thursday that the share of renewable energy on the grid in New Zealand is the highest it’s been in close to 20 years. Generated from the renewable resources last year, the share of the electricity was at 79.9 percent which shows an increase of 5 percent from the previous year. “New Zealand’s share of renewable electricity generation is the fourth largest in the world,” Simon Bridges, Energy and Resources Minister, said in a statement. The government attributed the rise to the geothermal generation growth. Last December, New Zealand held an auction for oil and gas exploration which Bridges said was the most successful to date. Around 149 million barrels of oil reserves remain in fields already in production and gas production was near 450 million cubic feet per day in 2011, the last full year for which the government has data. The minister said in his last statement on Thursday that geothermal energy contributed more to the New Zealand grid than natural gas last year. “This is a clear sign that when a government enables a market with direction and certainty, it results in real investor confidence,” he said. The government is aiming to have 90 percent of its electricity supplies through renewable resources by 2025. Find more information...

Enphase Energy Expands Global Engineering Facility in New Zealand.

The leader in Solar Microinverter systems announced yesterday its plan in expanding global engineering facility in Christchurch New Zealand to support the design, development and testing of its micro inverters. The engineering location of Christchurch will integrate its existing office and engineering facilities, increasing the company’s employment in the country, along with contributing to its global growth. Nathan Dunn, Asia-Pacific managing director for Enphase, said “New Zealand is an untapped market for exceptional engineering talent.” “Christchurch’s heritage in developing talent in the power electronics and engineering industry is globally recognized, and Enphase is delighted to call Christchurch home.” Enphase also plans to expand its Kiwi engineering workforce by 35 percent by the fourth quarter 2016. The company plans to liaise with the University of Canterbury to recruit more fresh talents. “Enphases’s engineers in New Zealand have made several important and strategic product development contributions. These have laid the foundation for the entry of our highly successful range of microinverters into the Australasian and European markets. These regions combined with all other markets outside of North America, contribute approximately 15 percent of our global revenue,” Dunn added. For the company, New Zealand is an emerging market. Considering the country has traditionally relied on hydro to power its energy requirements. “We extremely positive about our business potential and growth in New Zealand,” said Dunn. “It is a unique market where solar has the potential to grow and expand without the political legacy of subsidies propping up the renewable energy industry.” Find more information...

Meridian Energy Slashed Solar Buyback Rate Again.

According to Radio New Zealand News, Meridian Energy has again cut the price it pays to buy excess energy back from its solar customers. Both Meridian and Contact Energy announced last November that they were cutting their buyback rates for new customers by up to 50 percent. Last week, Meridian told its solar customers the same cuts would apply. The rates will be 7 cents per kilowatt hour in the summer and 10 cents in the winter starting the 1st of July. Previously, the rate was 25 cents for the first five hours a day and 10 cents after that. The energy company said the cuts more closely matched the prices it paid on the wholesale market. According to Scott Willis of Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust, the cuts would not discourage people from using renewable energy. “At a local level, we’re still seeing quite interest in solar and installation of solar and micro-wind, because people are starting to use the system in a better way,” he said. Meanwhile, Contact Energy has no plans to cut rates for its existing customers. Find more information...