Central Otago - Understanding the solarZero savings guarantee

Solar power savings so good we guarantee it for 20 years. Here's how the solarZero savings promise works.

By now, you've probably heard that solarZero is doing solar differently. With more than 10,000 systems already set up on our subscription service,  our track record is well and truly proven for delivering renewable and reliable energy. But our big promise to our customers—and the one that gets the most attention— is how we guarantee savings. Let's take a look.

When calculating how much a solarZero Energy Subscription will save you, there are many variables. It will depend on where you live in New Zealand, how many panels will fit on your roof, and how you live your day-to-day life. It can get confusing. That's where solarZero comes in handy, taking the guesswork out of long-term power bills. We're so confident you'll be better off with solarZero when comparing like-for-like energy usage over twenty years we're giving you a savings guarantee.

Solar savings guarantee

solarZero customers pay no hardware or installation costs, just a monthly subscription fee with top-up electricity from Ecotricity at price-protected rates.  And that's it. Instead of finding a hefty lump sum or going into debt to purchase your solar system, solarZero gives you a simple, affordable way to access solar, smart battery storage and Toitū Climate Positive electricity^. You'll also get something you won't get if you purchase your system outright: greater certainty over your power bills for twenty years. 

^NB:  Reticulated & bottled gas customers may still qualify for a solarZero subscription, but the grid or bottled energy will not be 100% renewable or Toitū climate positive certified.

There are three ways the solarZero energy service gives you cheaper power costs and guaranteed energy savings.

  1. Solar power generated at your place 
  2. Smart battery and energy experts 24/7
  3. Access to price-protected energy

Solar savings #1: Solar Power generated at your place

There is a big difference in the cost structures of generating power from the sun to use directly in your home versus running a hydropower station and transmitting energy nationwide.  Or worse 18% of the nation's energy is derived from importing coal from Indonesia, burning it in Huntly and distributing it nationwide. With solar, there are no distribution costs because solar energy is generated where it is used. And most importantly, the sun will never increase its rates (unlike the power companies).

We know that solarZero customers in Central Otago will have up to 75% of their power costs covered by their subscription with us. And because we also know and understand our costs, your subscription fee will never increase for the term of your agreement.   That allows you to lock in inflation-free power for the next 20 years for up to 75% of your total electricity costs. 

While your neighbours who don’t have solar will see their energy rates continue to rise each year, you will know exactly what to expect for 75% of your energy costs. Find out more about solar power prices here.

Solar savings #2: Smart Battery and Energy Experts

Being smart with solar is a continual process. Unlike other solar providers, solarZero comes with a team of fleet managers to ensure you get the optimum benefits from the solar and smart battery technology and access to members only,  price protected rates.

Maximising the use of solar in your home:  All solarZero customers enjoy access to solar panels and a smart battery and can, therefore, greatly reduce their exposure to the rising cost of grid power.  By maximising the use of solar in the home during the day and utilising stored power to support peak usage times.   The smart battery learns your energy usage patterns and continuously optimises to ensure you maximise the use of solar power in the home.  

Maximising savings on mains power:  We switch you to a Time-of-Use (TOU) energy plan and then actively use the smart battery to ensure you use grid power at the cheapest times possible and utilise battery power predominately during the peak pricing periods. 

Solar savings #3: Price protection

But that's not all we do to ensure you get the best power deal. We want to give our customers protection from rising electricity costs. Kiwis who choose to stay on grid electricity or go it alone on their solar system are facing a big unknown on what costs they will look at over the coming decades. And if the past is anything to go on, prices will continue to rise. Residential energy prices have risen 118% in the last twenty years. 

We provide a price-protected energy price currently less than 50% of the national average energy price. We add no margin to energy prices or lines charges, meaning solarZero customers are effectively accessing wholesale energy rates.

Our expertise and technical smarts in optimising solar and energy use mean that for an average customer, 45%-55% of your home’s energy needs come from the grid. But the cost of this grid energy will, on average, only represent 25% of your monthly power bill. Smart, right?

How does the solarZero savings guarantee compare with purchasing a solar system outright? 

For these reasons, we can deliver you cheaper electricity rates now and for the next 20 years.  We guarantee it.


How the smart battery operates over 24 hours

And all this adds up to our annual energy savings guarantee.

What is the Savings Guarantee?

We promise that EVERY year the customer will save money compared to what we estimate you would have paid with your previous retailer for the same amount of consumption.

We compare what you have actually paid to solarZero and our retail partner in the year vs your prior rate adjusted by the reference index (this is the Ministry of Business and Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Domestic Energy Prices Index).
We also assume that you will save 5% due to education/knowledge about your energy usage, based on monitoring and checks.

Why it's time to think about the cost of energy

In New Zealand, power prices have increased by 118% over the past twenty years. And we can only expect things will continue this way. In Upper Clutha, residents have paid higher power prices than most of New Zealand for years. Added to the financial factor is the genuine issue of resilience. Residents in
Upper Clutha regularly face power outages when supply is under stress or during weather events. We know you care about your energy savings, but we must also start caring about our resilience. Every time a customer signs up for solarZero, they are helping to reduce the load on the grid, which adds up to making a big difference in the long term. solarZero customers know they are doing their bit to help manage demand and ensure resilience, which goes a long way to keeping the lights on in the region. 

Upper Clutha residents – Find out how Aurora Energy in Upper Clutha customers receive access to a FREE smart battery* when they sign up with solarZero. 

*All hardware is owned and managed by solarZero you enjoy the benefits the hardware delivers.

How solarZero guarantees you annual energy savings

  • 10.8kWh of battery storage means peak demand is drawn predominately from smart battery power
  • No hardware or maintenance cost
  • On average solarZero’s grid electricity is 10c kWh cheaper 
  • Fully loaded electricity costs, including solarZero subscription, is on average,  2.5 cents cheaper per kWh, on day one (closer to 4 cents in regions with high power prices).   The pricing differential increases over time.
  • Service continuously optimised to maximise savings
  • Unlimited technical support
  • solarZero negotiates retail energy rates annually to ensure the best possible rates for its members
  • Repairs, replacements and updates to firmware to ensure our solarZero guarantees are delivered

The solarZero energy service delivers Toitū Climate Positive energy that, over the course of 20 years, gives you cheaper, reliable, renewable electricity with no product, fault or upgrade costs. And that all adds up to a whole lot of peace of mind.

Ready to join solarZero? Talk to a Central Otago solarZero expert today.

FAQs about solarZero's energy savings guarantee

Why am I locked into a 20-year agreement?
Solar panels last for well in excess of 20 years. It would be environmentally irresponsible for us to offer a service where panels were removed before we have maximised their usefulness.  

Finally, because we shoulder all debt relating to the solar hardware and have a fleet of solar engineers, electricity specialists, and technicians on staff, 20 years is also how long we need to generate the profit our shareholders require.  

How much can I expect to save when I go solar?
Our solar specialists will work with you to determine how much you can expect to save on your monthly energy bill. This relies on factors like the energy retailer you get your power from, how much electricity you use, and how much sunlight your home gets during the day. We'll only recommend solar if it's the right fit for your home, energy needs, and lifestyle. 

How are savings calculated?
Once you have provided a power bill to us, we look at the units of power that you use and the lines charges to calculate the number of solar panels your home would benefit from installing. We use this power bill to estimate the savings both in year one and over the 20-year period. The savings calculation takes into account the lower retail rates for energy that you will have access to that has no margin added, as well as the reduction of grid energy needed by the home (because of the solar energy generated and used), 5% efficiency gains, and the use of the smart battery to ensure that most grid energy is purchased at low pricing periods.