Solar power trial lights up display

19:35, Dec 23 2012
Leith Robertson Solar Christmas lights
SHINE ON: New Plymouth man Leith Robertson is powering his Christmas display with solar power.

A New Plymouth man will power his Christmas light display for free throughout the festive season - provided the sun keeps shining.

Leith Robertson, an electrical engineer at Wells Group, offered his home to Powerco to test a new energy solution powered by solar panels.

He is using the system to power his Christmas lights which are part of the Light Up Your Home Xmas Light Trail.

The system allows power to be stored until high demand times when it can be used to reduce peak usage, he said.

"Having worked in the energy industry I know even my little house generates peaks at dinner time.

"Why build another power station when you can shift the peak to everyone's demand?"

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Mr Robertson said if the trial was successful the system would be developed on a much larger scale.

"If the trial Powerco is doing works then what you're looking at is not individual houses but big substations."

Powerco business development manager Jamie Silk said the energy storage and management system had the ability for solar-generated energy to reduce residential peak demand, which would contribute to reducing network costs.

"For no effort and relatively low cost, consumers can potentially reduce their peak-time use and power bills."

Taranaki Daily News