Solar Energy

Custom solar solutions: design, installation and maintenance.

Central Otago proffers some of the best sunlight hours in New Zealand, making it a perfect location for solar energy solutions. We take the time to match our services to solar energy requirements.

The Optum team offer design and instalment of solar hydronic technology, while our partners (Wanaka &  Queenstown solar) are available for all your PV solar requirements.  We use Sunz Energy for premium leading technology systems and design and recommend Ecotricity as our energy provider of choice.

Our stable of qualified solar specialists will bring your solar project to life from design to install to connect, and beyond.

PV Panels

What

Panels installed on the roof convert sunlight into electricity, which provides household power through an inverter. The system can be ‘grid tied’, meaning it is still connected to the network, or ‘off-grid’ meaning all power generated is used or stored in batteries. In a grid tied system, the power company will pay you for excess, unused power generated during the day*, meaning you can build up a credit to buy power back from the power company at night for your electricity use when your panels are not generating.

*In NZ, the power company buy back rate is low and the purchase rate is quite high, so depending on the size of your system and usage, homes could generate enough to “break-even” but solar PV is not generally considered an ‘earner’ when also taking into account the cost to install the system.

  • Central Otago has high sunlight hours in NZ, making it a very viable location for solar PV efficiency.
  • As hot water is about 30-40% of the average household supply, using PV panels in conjunction with an electric HWC is a low maintenance, cost effective option to offset hot water and power needs.
  • Can be used to offset power requirements for central heating, e.g. air-water or groundsource heat pumps.
  • Can be sized differently depending on power requirements – standard configurations are 8-20 panels (2.5 – 5kw).
  • With the addition of batteries, homes become non-reliant on grid power during emergencies e.g power cuts.
  • Can be mounted flat on the roof, or on elevated rails if low pitch roof design.
  • Available with silver frames/blue panels or black frames/black panels to tie in aesthetically with house design.
  • Power generation can be monitored easily online either as one system or per panel depending on type of inverter.
  • System can be future proofed to allow for additional panels to increase size of system or batteries to be added at later date

Who

Suitable for anyone wanting to generate their own environmentally friendly electricity.

Solar Collector Panels

Panels on roof collect heat which is then transferred to the hot water cylinder by a small pump through a flow and return pipe.

Advantages

  • Environmentally friendly water heating.
  • Very low cost to run – only power cost to pump water through system.
  • Solar water heating is more efficient per sq/m than solar power.

Who

Suitable for domestic hot water supply as a source of water heating with backup required (supply will fluctuate depending on sunlight hours). Also suitable to supplement an underfloor heating system – solar water heating can reduce the running costs of the primary heat source e.g. Air-Water Heat Pump or Gas.

Hybrid Panels

Hybrid panels are designed to generate power and hot water at the same time. All solar panels work most efficiently when kept at a low temperature. Hybrid panels have been designed to take advantage of this, serving a dual purpose. The system works by passing cool water through the pipework, keeping the panels cool (therefore working at optimum efficiency) while also heating the water which can then be used for low temperature applications such as ground source or swimming pool heating.

Advantages

  • Most efficient of all solar panels – up to 83% efficiency compared to standard solar PV of 17-18%,
  • Can generate power and produce hot water at the same time.
  • Saves on roof space by installing one system rather than two.

Who

Excellent option for central heating systems when larger amounts of hot water required, or integrated systems using solar collectors. Also used as an upgrade from a standard electric hot water cylinder for domestic hot water supply.

Rotex Sanicube

An advanced water heater and water storage unit combined, the Rotex stores 500L of water. Set up can be customised allowing for integrated heating and energy solutions.

Advantages

  • 90mm thick insulation results in excellent heat insulation values. Hot water can be stored up to 5 days, making best use of your solar.
  • Most hygenic design – no chance of Legonella bacteria due to the pass through system for potable water.
  • The Rotex can top up solar hot water supply via an electric coil, integrate with a wetback coil, or other form of water heating (e.g. a boiler).
    Coils can be retrofitted and replaced if required.

Who

Most suitable for low temperature applications (e.g. underfloor or swimming pool heating) due to the large amount of cool water required to pass through the panels to keep them at a low temperature and therefore optimum efficiency. Also suitable as a combined PV and water heating system when roof size limited, although this is a more costly option for domestic hot water supply than installing two systems. Works partially when combined with ground source heating.

Swimming Pool Heating

A pool pump moves water from the pool through the solar collectors, the water is heated as it moves through the top header pipe and is then returned to the pool.

Advantages

  • Very low cost to run – only power cost to pump water through system.
  • Strong and durable matt black collector with a lifetime warranty.

Who

Suitable for any swimming pool as the system can be configured according to size. Target temperature is 28°c for extended season of 4-6 months, depending on weather.