Panels take SPCA largely off the grid

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 17/03/2014
spca stl
JOHN HAWKINS/FAIRFAX NZ
SOLAR BOOST: SPCA Southland operations manager Richard Hay checks the six inverters that tell him how much power has been generated by the solar panels powering the building.
spca stl
JOHN HAWKINS/FAIRFAX NZ
SOLAR BOOST: SPCA Southland operations manager Richard Hay checks the six inverters that tell him how much power has been generated by the solar panels powering the building.

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SPCA Southland is largely self sufficient when it comes to energy, thanks to the biggest solar power system of its kind in New Zealand.

SPCA Southland operations manager Richard Hay said he understood the new SPCA building near Invercargill would be self sufficient for seven months of the year, generating enough power to supply the building and sell some back to the grid.

The building has central and underfloor heating and had a special filtration system that purified and recycled the air, he said.

The system was installed by Tansley Electrical.

Representative Shane Brown said the SPCA's solar power set up used laminate photovoltaic panels instead of the common glass type.

It was the biggest solar power system of its kind in New Zealand, he said.

Each panel looked like a piece of lino and was glued to the roof so they blended in.

The 99 panels collected energy and fed it to six inverters installed at the SPCA, which converted the energy to power the building.

"You basically have your own power station on your roof," Mr Brown said.

The system cost between $80,000 and $90,000 and would have paid for itself in about seven years.

Mr Brown said businesses were the perfect customers for solar, because most businesses operated during the day and would use the power they were generating, while residential customers usually used more power at night.

"The interest is there, but the problem is most businesses don't actually own the buildings they're in."

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