Community Power

Let’s work together as one.
And keep the lights 
on in Coromandel.

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Coromandel’s electricity needs are growing by the day. With population growth, the increase in electric vehicles at home, and the impact of climate change, there is a big demand for our already limited local power network. If we don’t do something to lessen the load on our network, we can expect to see an increase in coal-based electricity or even power cuts.

solarZero is leading the way in an affordable and renewable solution to the energy problem in Coromandel. Discover how solarZero and its members are leading the change.

How are solarZero customers helping to keep the lights on in their local community?
What Erin Yorke from Huntly says about the benefits of solarZero

Erin lives in a rural area that experiences regular power cuts, she wanted to be eco-friendly and avoid the disruption they experienced during the Christchurch earthquakes. She recently experience a 7-day power outage and continued to have the power she needed most.

Working together as one. The more locals who join solarZero in Coromandel the more robust the local power network will become.

Powerco customers in Paunui, Tairua, Whitianga, and Coromandel Town who join solarZero will become part of a local energy partnership. It’s a way to use solar and smart battery storage to save on your power bills and reduce the strain on the local grid. Any excess solar energy you don’t use in your home will be sold back to the grid at 15c/kWh*.

(*rates correct at time of publication, please confirm with your Solar Specialist)

And it’s not just solarZero customers who reap the reward; traditional power users will benefit from a network that is not under stress and less prone to blackouts.

How Powerco and solarZero customers support the grid and reap the rewards simultaneously

Powerco customers in Whitianga, Paunui, Tairua, Mercury Bay, Colville and surrounding areas. (Postcodes: 3579, 3508, 3591, 3592, 3510, 3582, 3581, 3583, 3584, 3506, 3575). Are invited to participate in a community contingency response initiative, that not only will save them even more money each year, and give them more backup power it will also support their local communities.

Here’s how it works

Powerco anticipates approximately five-ten days per year, the power network will be under stress. At this time, Powerco instructs solarZero's smart batteries to keep the solarZero batteries fully charged in case of a “power event”. If an event occurs, the battery will be discharged first to support the solarZero customer’s household needs. If the solarZero customer doesn’t need all the store power, it is sent to the grid, leaving at least 10% emergency power for the homeowner. The owner will be credited by their energy retailer for the energy exported into the grid from the battery. 

This is a contingency response and it’s how Powerco and solarZero are working together to make the area more energy resilient.

Join solarZero’s contingency response and receive an extra battery to maximise savings and increase emergency backup power capacity.

Join solarZero’s Contingency Response, and you will be helping to keep the lights on in the region

As a reward for participating in the contingency response solarZero will install an extra 5.4 kWh of battery capacity. To increase your ability to be substantially “Off-Grid” during peak demand periods, giving you more ability to save and double your backup power capacity.

solarZero customers will receive a credit on their Electricity Bill for any power discharged to the grid.

The benefits of an extra smart battery capacity - provided to all contingency response participants

For the same price as our normal solarZero subscription, an additional 5.4kWh battery is installed. The benefits of that battery are yours to enjoy 97% of the year for free
  • Gives you a total available storage capacity of 10.8kWh
  • Dual batteries give you greater opportunities to save money through the following:
    • Spend more time “Off-Grid” daily using the energy generated and stored at your place.
    • Increase the ability to take advantage of Time-of-Use Pricing fluctuations to purchase cheap energy late at night to use during peak grid pricing.
Double the emergency backup power capacity:
  • You will have up to 9.72kWh of emergency capacity depending on when the outage takes place (guaranteed to have 1.08kWh at a minimum)
  • Solar power will continue to be generated and stored in both batteries during an outage, and you will have access to these emergency reserves throughout.
  • The additional battery capacity is often enough to support water pumps. Talk to your Project Coordinator about your specific needs.
  • To make the most of available solar power and storage capacity during a blackout, you choose which circuits to prioritise (usually 2 or 3) e.g main lighting circuit and circuits supporting internet, television, water pump and refrigerator. This approach maximises the number of days you can be without power, without food spoiling or losing contact with the outside world.

What happens when Powerco draws on the solarZero battery?

Powerco anticipates that approximately five-ten days per year, the power network will be under stress. To avoid the potential for community-wide power cuts on those days, they will instruct the solarZero smart battery to help support the power system.  On these days, the batteries will be kept fully charged, and if there is a power glitch, the batteries will be called upon to discharge.  First, to support the power needs of the solarZero homeowner, any additional power remaining in the battery will be released back to the grid to support the broader community, leaving at least 10% emergency power for the homeowner in case there is a blackout. The homeowner will be paid for any energy discharged back into the grid.


Why has solarZero decided to participate in Contingent Response with Powerco?

solarZero’s reason for being in business is to make a big difference in the fight against climate change. Our goal is to remove New Zealand's reliance on Huntly Coal Power Station.

If we can demonstrate to traditional grid companies the benefits of solar and battery power to their grid, we can radically speed up the decarbonisation of our electrical grid. Supporting a brighter, cleaner future for all New Zealanders.

solarZero is uniquely positioned to fulfil this role as we centrally manage more than 10,000 smarty batteries nationwide.

Powerco is paying us a fee for enabling the solarZero batteries to participate in contingency response. The fee we have received we have channelled mainly back to our customers providing additional battery capacity for all participating customers.


Who can participate?

Powerco customers in Whitianga, Paunui, Tairua, Mercury Bay, Colville and surrounding areas.  Including homes, schools and other Government-owned buildings. 

Postcodes: 3579, 3508, 3591, 3592, 3510, 3582, 3581, 3583, 3584, 3506, 3575

If you do not live in these postcodes we offer our standard solarZero subscription.


Will Powerco drain the smart battery?

No. Their first priority is to get solarZero customers to use their stored energy to support their own power needs, then if there is further available energy they will draw that from the battery to support the broader community (and pay you 15c / kWh)

10% of your battery reserves will remain and available for you to use if Powerco are unsuccessful in avoiding a power cut.

The smart battery will always ensure there is 10% available to use if Powerco is unsuccessful in avoiding a power cut. And the battery will be refilled from solar electricity throughout the power cut for you to use.