Vanuatu’s Rural Electrification Project Sets To Launch.

Parts of Vanuatu that have been previously without electricity are set to have access to solar power under a new project launched this week. The Vanuatu Rural Electrification Project has support from New Zealand and the World Bank. The project is aiming to electrify over 17,000 off-grid households nationwide including 230 aid posts and 2000 community halls, according to the Daily Post newspaper. Communities in parts where there is no electricity available on the national grid will be able to have access to solar power under a ‘plug and play system’. New Zealand High Commissioner in Vanuatu Georgina Roberts, said during the project launch that the system would help provide increased economic opportunities, employment and improved livelihoods. There is little or no maintenance required for the project’s solar system, the components of which are expected to have a lifespan of around 10 years. The project was estimated to cost US$ 4.7 million. Find more information...

India Trade Mission To Build New Zealand Tech Sector Links.

Communications Minister Amy Adams leaves for India to lead a New Zealand CleanTech business delegation. According to the department, the minister will visit Bangalore for business and state government meetings before traveling to New Delhi for the Renewable Energy India Expo. In Delhi, the Minister will also meet senior Indian Ministers. “This visit is an opportunity to enhance trade and business links between India and New Zealand while showcasing our innovative technology in the CleanTech and renewable energy sectors,” Ms Adams says. “India is our tenth largest export destination with two-way trade in goods and services totaling $1.9 billion in the year to March 2015. India is also our sixth largest market for service exporters are growing opportunities for innovative technology suppliers.” “New Zealand is a natural partner for countries looking for innovative assistance and advanced technology to harness and realize renewable energy and clean technology opportunities, and environmental management.” The delegation will be in India from 21 to 25 of September. Find more information...

New Bill Proposes Fair Go For Renewable Energy Producers.

Green Party MP Gareth Hughes wants to take the power back from power companies to secure fair buy-back prices for people who are producing excess renewable energy for their homes and businesses. Hughes promoted his Electricity Industry (Small -Scale Renewable Distributed Generation) Amendment Bill in Nelson which was drawn from the ballot in parliament last month. The bill is aiming to guarantee households that feed renewable electricity such as solar, wind and hydro, into the grid receive a fair price from power companies. “At the moment it’s the power companies that have all the power and solar looks like it’s being actively discouraged,” Hughes said. Power companies Contact and Meridian cut their buy-back rates for solar between 50% and 70% in November 2014. The bill proposes that the Electricity Authority will act as an “independent umpire” for the industry, setting and reviewing the buy-back price. Hughes said that dozens of other countries have a set feed-in tariff and New Zealand should follow suit. According to Hughes, removing the ridiculous red tape around renewable energy and securing fair buy-back prices would help New Zealand achieve its goal of 90% renewable electricity by 2025. However, he wanted to challenge the government to increase that goal to 100% renewable energy. He said Nelson was a “solar city” and well placed to capitalize on renewable energy. Read the full bill here. Find more information...

Solarcity and Panasonic Partnered Up To Help Cut Kiwi Power Bills.

Solarcity and Panasonic have launched a national smart energy partnership to make saving money on energy for Kiwi. All existing and new solarZero customers will receive a free starter pack of 10 Panasonic LED light bulbs as part of their solar installation. Stewart Fowler, CEO of Panasonic New Zealand said, “This new initiative combines two home energy solutions that can cut power bills and help reduce New Zealand’s carbon footprint. It allows homeowners to experience these benefits in one easy package through solarcity.” By installing solar with zero upfront costs, solarcity is making it possible for New Zealanders to take control of their power bills. It works closely with its customers to maximize the savings and environmental benefits of going solar. “Homeowners currently pay 400% more to run a standard light bulb instead of an energy efficient LED bulb that gives the same amount of light,” says Andrew Booth, CEO of solarcity. “This winter, energy bills across New Zealand are the highest they have ever been and our gift, alongside Panasonic, of 10 LEDs could save families $220 a year, every year, across the 15-year life span of each bulb.” Lighting represents around 12% of a home’s electricity bill and costs the average household $220 per year. LEDs can last 15 years or more and over their lifetime each LED lightbulb could save $290 compared to a standard bulb. Find more information...