Sue's solar dream come true

Meet Sue Story who joined solarZero at the end of 2021, fulfilling a decades-long dream of having solar installed on her home. 

Sue Story’s home soaks up the late summer sun on the Awhitu Peninsula. The recently installed solarZero system fulfilling a 25-year dream of powering her home with solar.

Sue first became interested in solar when she and her husband, David, were still living in the UK. However, due to planning permissions and restrictions, they were never able to have solar installed at their home. After they moved to New Zealand, they kept the dream on hold until after the kids moved out and moved out to the peninsula to ‘have a bit of the good life.’

While they had considered several companies, they realised they would need quite a lot of panels making the system very expensive. While they were certainly keen on solar, it was also important for them to ensure they balanced the costs with the savings they would be getting.

So, when their son was buying his house and found solarZero, Sue realised it was the perfect solution to their needs.

When our son was buying his house he wanted solar, and he found solarZero. So, I thought, I want that too! I’ve been waiting 25 years for that.

They now have a Rimu solarZero system, consisting of 13 solar panels and a solarZero smart battery, installed at their home and absolutely love it.

When it was explained to us it seemed so easy. I was a bit sceptical at first - surely it can’t be that easy. But, when we looked into it, we asked lots of questions and yeah, it was that easy. It was great.

Not just about saving money

While savings on their power bill was important, it wasn’t the key driving factor for Sue having solar installed. More important were the environmental benefits that powering her home on clean energy and being part of the solution would have.

I like being part of the solution and I’d like my grandchildren to think I wasn’t one of these old people that was wasting all the planet’s resources, but that we’re doing something to help with climate change.

She also sees its potential for helping support the electric grid and protecting people from when the electricity supply may not be as stable.

The savings are a big bonus, but I think everybody should have this because we wouldn’t have the electricity supply issues that we have. I know we’re pretty green here, we use a lot of hydro, but there could be times when there isn’t that water. So if everybody had their own supply that could even out that flow of electricity.

This was put to the test not long after installation, with a power cut hitting the area in early March - much to Sue and David’s delight.

We had a power cut recently and the only reason we knew there was a power cut was that the burglar alarm was beeping to say that it was running on battery power. We then went around checking which lights came on by using the battery and everything. It was like children at Christmas - this one works - oh I can switch this light on!

They’ve also become more conscious about their energy use, using the mysolarZero dashboard to track their energy consumption and to see when the best time is to run their appliances.

My husband and I are more conscious of the electricity we use. I’m checking on the website to tell me if I’m exporting anything so I think ‘right, I can put the dishwasher on now and then I can put my washer on a timer.’ So I can really structure when I’m using electricity so I’m not overusing electricity, which is good.

Installation was a breeze

While the installation of their solar system happened with COVID restrictions in place, Sue found the entire process easy, and the installation team did a fantastic job.

They made sure we were happy with the position of everything and were a bit concerned they would have to put the battery in a certain position near the house. I wasn’t really bothered - they could put a mile high antenna on top of the house, or pink and green or yellow spots - I didn’t care, I was getting solar.

While the installation team didn’t install a mile high antenna or brightly coloured dots, the installation still generated plenty of talk within the area with people asking how it’s going. And Sue is only too keen to recommend solar to her neighbours.

I think the thing with solar is, whether it’s the cost or the environment, that everyone should have it. Especially if you’re in the country because you do get power cuts and everything. It’s the way forward. It’s Free. It’s a no brainer really. Why wouldn’t you have it?

And if you can get somebody like solarZero who can give you a really good deal and you can save, there’s nothing to say no to at all.


Sue Story shares her home with her husband who’s a keen fisherman, two delightful dogs and plentiful birds. She’s also a wonderful photographer and we highly recommend you follow her work on Instagram.