Installing a solar electricity system

You'll need a solar expert

SEANZ (Sustainable Electricity Association of New Zealand) is the representative body for the solar electricity industry. We recommend consumers use SEANZ members to provide advice, quotes and undertake solar installation work.

Bigger isn’t always better

For best value, most of the electricity the system generates should be used directly in your home, rather than sold to a retailer. A solar installation expert will be able to advise on the best sized system for you.

 

Solar panel positioning

To get the most sunlight, solar panels should face north as much as possible to maximise the sunlight they receive. Panels facing in other directions will work but not produce as much electricity. Ideally, panels shouldn’t be shaded by trees, surrounding buildings or hills.

Solar panels are normally fixed at the angle of the roof. You can buy mounting frames to improve the panels’ angle but sometimes, their cost can outweigh the added benefit.

Talk to a solar expert about the best option (which could include more panels).

Solar PV panels are suitable for both rural and urban conditions. They’re usually installed on roofs but can also be placed on facades, conservatory roofs, sun shades, garages or specially built stands on the ground.

Talk to a solar installation expert about the best options and solar panel set-up.

 Find a SEANZ professional(external link)

 

Maintenance

The life expectancy of a solar panel is 25 years, with minor maintenance. For best performance, panels should be cleaned periodically to remove dirt and other debris such as leaves. Panels will stay clean for a long time in areas with high rainfall and better air quality. You may need to pay a contractor to do this work if your roof is difficult to access and/or steep. Trees that shade your panels should be trimmed.

You will likely need to replace an inverter during the life of your system. An inverter converts the direct current (DC) electricity generated by solar panels into the alternating current (AC) used in New Zealand houses. Inverters come in two main types: string inverters and micro-inverters. Both types have their strengths and weaknesses - talk to a solar expert about the best option.