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Greens want cheap $15K loans for solar panels - with debt attached to house, not person

Households would get low-interest loans up to $15,000 for solar panels under a new Greens policy.

A key feature of the new policy is that the debt would be attached to a house, not a person.

A low-interest loan would be added to a home's rates bill, and the next person to buy the property will be lumbered with the debt.

The loans will be for a term of 15 years and at the Crown’s low sovereign interest rate, which is currently 4.1%, the party says.

The party claims the scheme would be cost-neutral to the Crown, with an estimated administration cost to Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) of less than a million dollars a year. 

A typical $10,000, 3 kilowatts (kW) solar array, generating approximately 3,500 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, produces $1000 of electricity a year at current prices, and will cost $900 a year over 15 years to pay off under the Greens' proposed scheme, the party says.

However, a qualifier to "current prices" would have to be that Labour and the Greens plan to introduce a single, Crown-owned electricity buyer if elected - a policy they claim will drive down power prices from the national grid - presumably making solar less attractive in the process (although experts have disputed that there would be any price drop from the Labour-Greens policy).

Once the loan was paid off, the home could sell any surplus power back to the grid.

According to the Green's figures, a $10,000 solar panel installation will save a home owner $28,000 over its 25-year life span.

There are currently around 2000 homes with solar power. The Greens say they would target 30,000 installations in the scheme's first three years. 

The party claims it will create 1000 new jobs across various green energy initiatives.

"Dishonest", "Dangerous"
National's Steven Joyce said the Green scheme meant taxpayers would be subsidising people to move to a more expensive form of power generation.

ACT was also on the front foot.

“The Greens’ Energy Policy announced today shows how dangerous they are to the New Zealand economy,"  leader-elect Jamie Whyte says.

“Cheap loans for solar panels are actually a dishonest subsidy. The subsidy is hidden in the terms of the loan. It would be more honest would be to simply subsidise the panels, but in that harsh light people would see the policy for what it is - an election bribe ultimately funded by the taxpayer," Mr Whyte says.

Policies of subsidising biofuels have failed around the world - economically and  environmentally. There is no reason to think that subsidising solar panels will be any more successful, the ACT leader says.

“Solar energy is either viable or not viable.  If it’s viable it needn’t be subsidised - people would be installing it anyway. If residential solar panels are not yet viable, we shouldn't be wasting taxpayer money on them - and the Greens have conveniently skipped saying what the cost of this loan guarantee will be.

“Technology is the key to a greener future, but by trying to play venture capitalist Norman is actually distorting the future potential to invest and innovate in the best possible technology at the best possible time," Mr Whyte says.

“What New Zealand needs to improve investment in energy is investor confidence.  That requires a stable regulatory environment where the government sets stable rules rather than interrupting the market."

Comments and questions
87

So the Crown has to stand, presumably, as guarantor for the loans to build what amounts to a second and competing electric generator but that will actually be held in private hands.

Moreover, such a network at scale will over time degrade the value of and need for the Crown's own generating assets that the taxpayer and consumer has invested in and paid for over the decades at enormous cost.

Where will the capital come from to maintain and upgrade the Crown's current generating assets?

Yet I thought the Greens didn't like the private ownership of state owned assets, because that is in effect is what the Green's policy will do? It will convert a significant chunk of electricity generation in this country from its current majority public ownership into entirely private hands, and leave the Crown holding the unloved and unwanted ugly concrete dam baby.

I think someone in the Greens has been at the electric puha again and gotten themselves all confused.

Yeah if this happens, we'd soon end up with many buyers and many sellers in the electricity market. We can't have that. That would be, like, um, capitalism. You know - Adam Smith, competition, the invisible hand. This is appalling news.

So if everybody is selling their excess generation back to the grid, who exactly do they sell it to? You are correct, capitalism will soon sort the economics of that (and this stupid idea) out.

It's a problem matching peak solar (daytime) to peak demand (7pm), but in NZ we are lucky that hydro can be used at peak demand, and switched down/off during peak solar.
But eventually the problem will be solved by using the solar energy to charge electric cars, and using the batteries in electric cars, houses or elsewhere to transfer supply from daytime to night.

But the cars aren't home during the day to be charging while the sun is shining so they cant be used to shift the power generated to peak demand.

Likewise, using Hydro for peak time means we have to significantly over invest in transmission to be able to manage than demand.

Time to stop seeing reds under the bed. Home insulation was offered at a subsidized loss by the government and no-one winged then. In Germany the Government has been subsidizing residential solar heating and power installations for years and it works well. I'm not a Green party person, but I see real merit in the idea.

Germany doesn't generate 75% of its existing electricity from renewable sources, (as New Zealand does) so a scheme like this may have some merit there. It has none in New Zealand.

Germany has admitted their solar power subsides were a failure and are returning to coal fired power plants again.

Got any facts to back that up? Inputs from my German colleagues suggest otherwise and they are very happy about the positive results from the installations.

You can argue that the form of the scheme in Germany is not ideal in terms of the way the subsidy is provided but Magoo is right, the German experience has been a disaster. The net result is power production is unstable through the year meaning a need to return to coal fired power stations, the rich (home owners) being subsidised by the poor (renters and others in temporary accommodation) for solar panel installation and no environmental improvement.
Read any of the following, there are hundreds more....
http://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2013/10/04/should-other-nations-follow-germanys-lead-on-promoting-solar-power/
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/high-costs-and-errors-of-german-transition-to-renewable-energy-a-920288.html
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/project_syndicate/2012/02/why_germany_is_phasing_out_its_solar_power_subsidies_.html

Sounds like your German colleagues are taking you for a ride.

Merit?

So the taxpayer stumps up with a cheap $15000 loan for solar panels which the Greens say will save $100 a year.

Or for around 1% of that cost, you could fit a a satinjet shower head that will save much more.

No worse than the insulation subsidies or interest free student loans. they all cost taxpayers.

Anyone care to take a guess at the price of one KW in 10 years time?

The aim is only 30000 houses so it hardly sounds like a 'second competing generator'. To be fair to the greens this seems like a good idea with limited risk to the tax payer. It's easy to shoot people with new ideas down are you an act supporter? Although I dont support all their ideas (eg single buyer) at least the greens seem to coming up with some new ideas in this space. The other parties seem a bit flat footed

Love the reds under the beds comments in this debate. Seriously:
- The world is looking at distributed generation as one of a number of solutions to reliance on fossil fuels. This means small local generators. It will happen and markets will adjust as will networks. We are a bit behind in NZ.
- No the state assets will not be left stranded. Electricity use will increase as fossil fuel use decreases. Last time I drove past Huntly it was still belching steam from fossil fuel. Electric cars are being tested here now.
- No one mentioned the Queensland experiment with subsidies for local solar generation. Not worked too well at this point.

We need to experiment with ideas like this now to get the processes working. Local wind turbines are another. And yes some will end up not as successful as others.
- Peak consumption management is one of the key problems with solar. time of use metering and pricing is one solution. Storage (batteries) development to deal with this is another a world trend.
- You can always turn the tap down or off on a dam during the day when the sun is out.
Oh no you can't cos we sold the dams and the shareholders want a return even if it is not in the best interests of managing NZ's total energy production and distribution.

Oh and the greens like small business and self reliance. I'm not their fan. At least they are trying something.

Good heavens! What if an overseas house buyer wants the subsidised loan?

Before long off-shore interests could have acquired a large part of our solar heat and sell it back to the grid for us mug Kiwis to purchase.

Just like the b*&^?%s will buy up the power companies or so the Kermit party tells us. This just isn't on Russell.

Exactly. There's no way a Govt should subsidise private individuals; only corporates (like Sky City, Rio Tinto, Warner Bro's). This is outrageous.

Corporates can't vote, private individuals can. So good luck bribing an election with 'corporate welfare'.

What about giving low interest loans to those who do not want to have children. The saving over 25 years will be about $250,000 so we can afford to give (based on Greens solar power ratio Loan:Saving) a $89,826 low interest loan. Sounds like a policy that could work.

Hilarious..'What New Zealand needs to improve investment in energy is investor confidence.'
That requires a stable regulatory environment where the government sets stable rules rather than interrupting the market."

Soneone needs to remind philosophically hypocritical or incredibly naive Mr Whyte that the stable (sic) of domestic investors took a bath over MRP and needed 'incentivising' to buy into Meridian. which propmptly dropped too ..Will we be offered free dinner with Bridges or Shipley if we invest.in Genesis?
See Act haven't changed.. Still a tarnished little coat-tail party to National just with newer predictable hollow men candidates espousing and pushing National party lines rather than their own...I thought Act stood for LESS government regulation?

You must be joking? It wasn't compulsory to invest in MRP. Nor was a gain guaranteed. The govt got rid of that shareholding at a net GAIN to the taxpayer. I'm more than happy, as are most NZers now they realise the sky hasn't fallen (what a surprise).

Agree, the market is about risk and reward. No-one guaranteed the returns and investors clambering for an easy (tax free) profit after listing did not look at all the risks properly. See Genesis results are down with no help from greens or labour. Energy companies are not risk free.

Ridiculous. Unless you are going to live in the same house for the 25 years of the loan, you are going to lose money. Because if you are going to move, the new owner will have to cover the future payments on the loan. They will likely only do that if you drop the price of the house, against other non-solar houses in the market, by the npv of the outstanding loan. Which means you will pay the full cost of the loan, even though you are leaving the solar behind.

Um, OneTrack, I don't think there is any suggestion that a homeowner will be forced to take out this load, is there?

So if you think you'll lose money, just don't do it. Problem solved.

But a homeowner will be forced to subsidise someone else's loan through his taxes, right? Reminds me of the interest free student loan scheme - that's working out well don't you think? What's the govt debt up to now, still around $400,000,000? $400,000,000 that OTHER people have to pay the interest on. But that's ok, only taxpayers pay for the subsidies so that lets most of the political left off the hook.

OneTrack, let's do the maths. After 5 years, you've paid off $2k of a $10k system. "other non-solar houses in the market" are selling for $500k, so you list your house for $510k. The buyer subtracts the outstanding $8k and offers $502k. Where have you lost money?

It doesn't work that way in the housing market. Try adding 2000 to the price of your property because you have just fitted a $3000 heat pump. Nobody cares. Many buyers will see the outstanding subsidy as a liability.

Nice to see that the Greens actually have at least one policy that is actually related to their branding not the actual core extreme left wing agenda that is at the heart of most of their policies. The only problem is that given the clueless extreme left concentration they could not even get this one right.

This proposal makes no financial sense given the Labour/Greens policy of having a single electricity buyer to force prices down. Demand drops, prices drop and paid for buy the taxpayer competing with itself. Well done Russel ! - until now I had thought you had some political astuteness.

National's no slouch on middle class welfare in the energy sector, either, with its $247 million insulation subsidy scheme, and interest free loans and bonus shares scheme to lure people into the power company partial privatisations. Surely Joyce should consider that those schemes were also subsidised by other taxpayers who didn't participate?

I am an engineer who has just spent a considerable amount of effort trying to find a way of making solar power economic on a small island in New Zealand. I failed.

Which ever way you look at it, the scheme does not make sense.

During the summertime, when we usually have plenty of power, the sun is shining and the price is low, the scheme assumes that power fed back into the system benefits the owner by 28 cents/kWh. The power is worth 5 cents or even less and the extra solar power will further depress the value. This means that consumers who cannot afford $10,000 for solar cells will be paying more for their electricity to subsidise the rich owners of solar cells.

During winter evenings when the demand is at the annual maximum and prices can be very high, the solar cells will generate exactly nothing. So the owner of the solar cells will be depending on the generating plant, transmission system and distribution system paid for by the other consumers to keep his lights on. They will pay 100% of the cost, the solar cell owner will pay about 60% of the cost. Once again, many poor consumers will pay more to make up the shortfall.

Finally, the estimates of how much power the solar cells would generate are almost certainly on the optimistic side. Experience in New Zealand and overseas tells us that they seldom generate the predicted amount.

If there are thousands of cells in Auckland – as the Greens no doubt hope – and a bank of cloud crosses the sky, the output of all the cells will drop by 60% in a few minutes. To meet this contingency, inefficient power station will have to be kept on standby. This will increase costs and, probably, carbon dioxide emissions. The consumers will pay.

All over the world, solar energy only exists because of ridiculous subsidies offered by governments and, all over the world, it has been demonstrated that, no matter which way you look at it, all it does is impoverish poor people.

This crazy policy is further evidence of the Greens total ignorance of anything related to economics and their total inability to realise that most of their policies will damage the people that they claim to be looking after.

Your assertion that solar cells do not generate the predicted amount is bunk. I have had panels on my roof for 3 years and in that time they have generate 8%, 15% and 12% MORE than they were predicted to by the relevant models. You may claim to be an engineer but your mind is clearly closed to the mountain of evidence relating to the success of solar systems.
As for subsidies - perhaps you should consider the vast subsidies given to other energy sources (gas, oil, nuclear) by governments in terms of tax breaks and right offs before whining about solar.

What are 'right offs'? You provide no evidence whatsoever for whatever it is you're saying.

The NZ government provided $46.29 in support for the oil and gas industry in 2012/13 ($35m of which was 'tax deduction for petroleum mining expenditure' - the latter is the governments precise term). Another $5m of this was entitled 'Non resident drilling rig and seismic ship tax exemption'). Its all there in the govt books. why dont you go and look?

Seriously so many of you people seem to hold such strong opinions and yet have so little actual data to back them up.

There is absolutely no point in subsidising solar power. I have installed solar panels on my house; it costs me a fixed $80 a month in repayments and, since being installed, has saved me $100 a month in electricity bills. Home solar is now a economically viable option in many parts of the country and so does not need to be subsidised.

Are your repayments to a supplier, the mortgage or a Kiwibank Sustainable Energy Loan?

The $80 per month sounds like Vectors scheme.

It will be interesting to see what your savings are during the winter.

Yes, Vector's scheme. I had it fitted in July so have had a winter with it. Savings equalled costs in winter - the $100 is an average so far.

Although when I was investigating the options, and doing my sums, I came to the conclusion that there were only savings from solar if excess power were stored rather than sold to the grid. Basically you have to have a battery to make it economically viable.

If solar power made economic sense it would be commonplace - with or without subsidies. Fact is it is expensive to install, and if it could be guaranteed to last more than 15 years it's worth thinking about. Unfortunately it isn't.

Perhaps you should actually do some research? Panels are certified to still be 80% efficient after 25 years (ie a decline in production of ONLY 20%).

I'm off the grid. My panels (made in Germany) are guaranteed for 30 years to produce better than 80% of specified output.

Big Hydro, Big Wind, Big Nuclear Power and Big Coal currently be cheaper, but if I had a choice, I wouldn't want any of those built in my back yard......

You're forgetting about the long term cost of the "cheaper" alternatives - such as big pylons, large power stations - where in Auckland do you have space to put those ?

Er. you'll still need those. The grid will need to supply you with peak power unless you want to run everything off batteries and use only low-consumption electronics. Factor that investment in and your cost savings are gone for good. And I assume that commercial and public buildings and will operate off some form of magic air? At least the Internet will disappear as well so we won't have to put up with ill-conceived comments on website news stories. 'Big' everything is a lot cheaper than the overall cost (I include energy and resource use from production to disposal over a viable lifetime) of a myriad solar homes feeding into and from a grid. The minute you add people to the mix and the cost sky-rockets. How many call centres do you think will be needed to deal with people contesting their power bills? it's bad enough with energy use, add in generation and it's a dead duck.

I forgot to add this:

According to the Greens, the solar power installation will cost $10,000 for 3 kW. This is equivalent to $3300/kW at a capacity factor of 13%.

A 1000 kW geothermal scheme at 90% capacity factor costing $ 4 million could generate the same amount of power as 7000 kW of solar cells costing $23 million. This is without the extra cost of adapting the distribution system, carrying extra reserve capacity for winter evenings and all that.

By a very large margin, it does not make economic sense.

What about the cost of maintaining a Geothermal plant, Mr Engineer?, Solar panels once installed will require less maintenance over the same time frame. The world is getting hotter, we might as well utilize this free source of energy. The greens proposal is good, but it just needs to be explored further.

So - climate change IS due to the sun? That's nonsense. Higher temperatures will mean greater use of electricity for cooling and more reliance on the grid, not less. And you can't take one element and compare - you need to consider the whole. One small geothermal plant can generate far more, and far more consistently, than thousands of solar panels, so there's a win. And you'll need the geothermal plant to power you when your panels can't, so you'll still need both, so there's another win. The loan scheme is nonsense. The tech is good, but the scheme is bad.

The world is getting hotter? Prove it!

Solar panels do not run on "heat", they run by converting photons into electricity...as far as I am aware we are not seeing dramatically more sunlight. Besides, your global warming argument is flawed as excessive heat can significantly reduce the output of a PV system.

Lets see $900 a year for $1000 savings a year in electricity? Once the loans are paid off electricity gets a whole lot cheaper and god alone knows what it'll cost in 15 years time thanks to those idiots in parliament.

Then lets see if many households embrace this then suburbs become energy suppliers as much of the electricity goes back onto the grid during the day.

Also the proposal is likely to create jobs for installers and maintenance people. Yes thats economic growth.

So Joyce how abut you pull your head out of your butt and put down your ideological biases and just agree to support something that might actually be good for NZ.

I dont know about anyone else on here but political point scoring when there is real positive change afoot is just shameful. Perhaps we all need to tell Joyce and his rich bitch cronies this

Why is this discussion assuming that all PV equipment is maintenance free and has a lifespan of 12 - 15 years + ?? Mr Leyland is possibly NZ most knowledgeable consultant and is correct. Someone here stated that his current energy output is ahead of spec which it may well be but I would like to see what it is in 6 - 8 years time. Based on what we see after 10 - 15 years the PV efficiency has significantly degraded and so are the "savings". I'm sure PV suppliers will make all kinds of claims and equipment warranty but I bet half of them wouldn't be in business in 15 years time let alone the equipment still running .... So basically you spend $12,000 to save $12,000 over 12 years .... dumb & dumber ..

Again, why dont you actually do some research? I would love to post the link but the spam filter will stop me, but recent Japanese research says "Recent evidence from Japan suggests that life expectancy is longer than expected.[1] A company that reuses old panels reports that it has tested 330 panels made in 1984. 90% of these units can still generate 80% or more of their initial output. The industry expects that products made today will be even more durable than those made in the 1980s. The backing materials used to create the solar panels should be less susceptible to discolouration. So typical lives of thirty or more years can probably be assumed.' Clearly then your Mr Leyland is incapable of doing even simple research, so if that makes him one of our most knowledgeable consultants than I would hate to hear what our least smart one has to say......

Ok, we will play your game.

$900 cost a year for $1000 in savings

After 10 years the panels have degraded 10%, so they are producing (ie earning) 90% of what they were at the start.

Now it is $900 cost a year for $900 in savings.

Add in interest rate variability and it is well past questionable. Obviously there may be an increase in power prices,but, if this is happening, then the Greens are in government and NZ Power will be holding the power price down won't it?

I've been looking at the potential for putting panels on my place on a similar basis i.e. no storage and the power being pushed to the Grid...

The Risks include:
- Long Term Pricing in Power incl rate of other generation and price paid for by retailer for the solar power
- Actual generating capacity as this is affected by location in country (sunshine hours), pitch and aspect of panels due to roofline (i.e where your roof points to and the pitch of the roof), location of the property, shading during day of house (eg if you live in a valley or with taller houses, trees or terrain near you)
- Degradation of the panels reducing capacity, maintenance costs eg cleaning panels to maximise generating potential
- Actual installation costs may be higher for some premises
- Average tenure by New Zealanders in a home is less than 5 yearsand the opportunity cost of paying off the mortgage instead eg 7.5% after tax historical rate.

Even at the optimistic claims by the Greens, based on a $100 annual saving and an effective no risk 7.5% opportunity cost against a 7.5% average mortgage rate the Net Present Value of this scheme OVER 15 YEARS is about $760 with no interest rate adjustment for risk.

I still can't figure where the Greens get their $28,000 saving in power over 25 years unless of course they are counting the raw savings without deducting the repayments.

If this were an investment I'd be wanting a significantly better payback as it's too risky for the homeowner and there's a fair amount of risk being taken by the Crown.

Even with the cheap loan and no mortgage it still isn't compelling as it doesn't make a lot of economic sense... the two rainwater collection tanks I use for watering the garden, lawns, washing the cars and flushing the toilets had a payback inside 5 years against Watercare's charges - now that's a environmental friendly investment that stacked up.

what about people renting? they get nothing , and these are the people the Greens are supposed to be helping , not wealthy Auckland property owners , they are hypocrites.

Solar power that reduces power costs for renters will become just another factor that you consider when renting.

For example, right now I would not consider moving into a place without UFB, or at least UFB coming in the next few months.

but this scheme has monthly interest charges associated with it, so it you are renting that property, you are going to be paying super rent to cover that cost.

Do we need a referendum for the National politicians to know that its getting hotter every year!!!!!
This issue of politicians opposing everything from the other political party is useless, without discussing or exploring the issue further.
Such discussions are good for the country, just imagine, creating a new industry of Solar Installation Technicians, Spare parts companies, saying good bye to Solid Energy,

The world hasn't warmed for the past 17 years. All students who've just left school last year and are in their 1st year at university have never seen any global warming in their entire lives:

http://theclimatescepticsparty.blogspot.co.nz/2014/01/ipcc-projections-exceed-observed.html

Importing all those solar cells from China, ......

So now those who were thinking about putting in solar panels will wait until after the election to see if the Green's become part o the government.

No they won't. Only serious Greenies think the Greens likely to get into power, and they already have gluten-free, organic, solar powered everything

Everyone seems to be forgetting that if you get paid 28 cents/kWh for electricity that is worth five cents, somebody is subsidising you.

Why not similarly subsidise small hydro that costs a fraction of solar and is usually available when needed? Or big hydro, which is even cheaper and better?

Anything that is subsidised is uneconomic!

But - if you use the power yourself, instead of supplying it back to the grid - i.e. Your power generation _roughly_ matches your power use, then you do not have to pay 28c for every unit of power that you use. No subsidies, you're just saving your own money.

Oh, yeah. Remind me who paid for the current electricity network? Take a trip to Twizel (via Huntley) and you'll see more traxpayer funded energy infrastructure than you can shake a windmill at.

The over-inflated prices that our energy companies enjoy today is a direct legacy from that taxpayer funding.

To say that a 4% loan is a subsidy because you might get a few more points elsewhere is completely dishonest. It is infrastructure paid for by the people who benefit from it. You're lucky someone doesn't come and nationalise the whole lot, lock stock and turbine.

We know that is the Greens preferred model. They just dont want to scare the horses yet.

sick of politics ? equally sick of mindless posturing without any considered rebuttal or evidence . Because Greens say it is wonderful , you assume it must be right ? Get real , If these alternative energy schemes were viable without huge distortionary subsidies there would be thousands of them . You conveniently overlook Bryan Leylands excellent point that there is no storage facility for solar generated power so the solar users still MUST rely on hydro or other means of generation to be viable

Funny that nobody actually talks about the cost of storing the energy in batteries that only last for 5 years and need to be replaced!
As long as we don't have a better storage system for electricity all these talks are a waste of time and money (oh yeah our (tax ) money).
The politicians are only playing with your own money!! Taxing and giving it back after they have been paid!

jb, your 5 year comment is way off the mark. My batteries are guaranteed for 5 years. They are just coming up to that now and are functioning as good as the day they were installed. I expect at least 10 years out of them, and if I look after them I see no reason why I should not get 15 years.

Solar panels don't generate any power in winter when demand for electricity is at its highest.

Rubbish. My panels (on a 3kW array) generate an average of 9kWh every day through May, June and July and that is in the South island. The level of ignorance being peddled on here is breath taking.

The problem is most people don't need power during the day because they're at work, and when they need most power in winter., it's dark.

Congratulations you saved $2.25 per day ....

Yep $65-70 a month in the winter months. A lot more during the other months of the year. Total savings on my system on power bills - $1000-1200 a year.

And your point is?

The Energy Efficiency Agency and Consumer recently published a report on solar in NZ homes and came to the conclusion that over the life of the system, the majority of people end up paying MORE than they would have just being connected to the grid.

As they said, there are significantly better returns than solar in other areas.

You can save hundreds of dollars a year with a $150 high tech shower head.

Or much less - $100 a year - with a $15000 solar system under the Greens scheme.

My point exactly is that you environmentally sensitive people have no financial sense whatsoever. A $15,000 debit @ 4.5% interest paid off over 13 years will cost you $125.00 per month with the interest amounting top an extra $4965 on top of your $15,000 "investment" So you will spend $1500 per year to save $1000 - $1200 on your power bill...... oh dear ... this country is in trouble if anyone votes for Norman ....

Taking a long-term view there is, in my opinion, considerable merit in exploiting solar energy for the future benefit of society.

Unfortunately the operative word here is "future". As much as I would like to see more solar (and to install it personally), I think there are several reasons to be extremely sceptical regarding the announced policy on both economic and practical grounds.

1. As indicated, the costs of administartion are understated by significant omissions. These increase the degree of cross subsidy implicit in the scheme.
2. As indicated above a relatively small increase in interest rates (from an historic perspective) would wipe out all of the mooted savings.
3. As the cost would be unlikely for a landlord to recuperate from tenants, the vast majority of the country's pool of rental properties would likely be excluded (and therefore a significant number of taxpayers would derive no benefit other than supplying cheap loans to the landowners who would benefit - remember also that the latest census shows a continuing secular decline in home ownership levels).
4. Add the significant number of houses/properties that are either poorly aligned to the sun (roofs entirely east/west or south facing for example) or would otherwise produce a poor energy yield means simply that the policy would effectively only be meaningfully available to less than a third of kiwi homes (at best).
6. As Brian Leyland has pointed out, the implicit consequence is that the wealthiest part of society would be the main logical beneficiaries of the policy.
7. Moreover, it is not clear whether the extra generation would result in infrastructure cost savings. On the one hand extra solar generation would reduce system demand at certain times of the day at certain times of the year. By implication this would be expected to reduce wholesale market prices at those times. If reflected in retail prices this would also serve to reduce or erase the purported savings from home ownership of solar.
8. However, the position is less clear. As Brian Leyland has also correctly pointed out, solar generation is zero at night time and very limited during winter owing to New Zealand's latitude. The electricity generation (and distribution) system that we have is designed upon the premise of meeting the country's peak demand - typically the evenings and mornings of the coldest days of winter. Simply adding the equivalent of a power station's worth of solar will not, of itself, mean the country can afford to take a single large power station offline. From a carbon reduction perspective the amount of natural gas burnt will decline fractionally, accounting for those times when gas is burnt to meet daytime summer load.
9. It is unclear whether the policy is extended to installation of battery storage. Battery storage (instead of sale into the grid) has the ability to effectively extend the period when solar generated power is available for consumption. Although considerable R&D is going into storage technologies and the price of bettery storage is falling (much faster than that of solar cells), the fact is that battery storage is still very expensive and does not last near as long as solar cells. (Disposal is yet another environmental issue).
10. Moreover, whether with or without battery storage (and the difference is surprisingly important I must add), the addition of material "clumps" of solar installations in a relatively short time period will likely increase, rather than reduce, the investment required for local distribution networks in order to ensure system stability. The reason for this is that at the end of the day when the sun sinks the amount of solar load that needs to be replaced from the grid falls off very quickly. (If one thinks of it from a north to south basis, in the middle of summer the load will start dropping in the north and progressively fall off moving southwards). This creates significant potential stability issues. At least it is predictable however (on a sunny day). If significant battery storage is employed, the falloff will likely be more sudden and far less predictable. In short, costs of distribution will increase and these will need to be borne by all homes, with solar or without. Paradoxically, both cross-subsidy will increase (in the form of added costs borne by non-solar homes) and potential savings will be reduced.
In short, a policy that is, by turns, unsurprising from a "green" perspective, forward-thinking from the perspective of a logical future, surprisingly wealth distributive (from a "Green" - capital G - perspective) and extraordinarily ill-thought from a practical industry perspective. This is a political posture that simply does not make sense otherwise.

Would never vote for the greens, I see this as a perk for the wealthy. If the greens do get in heaven forbid, I would take this on as it would improve the capital value of my house, but would probably pay it off on retirement. I am planning to do this anyway as I want to reduce my outgoings when I retire.

So great for those with the extra money, but doesn't make sense for the country to subsidise this.

How does this policy stack up with the amount of lead in the batteries, given that now there is no lead in paint, fuel or hunters shot gun cartridges.
Currently, I understand , that there are no lead acid battery recyclers in NZ - not economic, the batteries are sent overseas to be recycled in contravention of international trade law as lead is a toxic substance and is banned from export.

Cant help but remember all the magic numbers dancing (just like reading the above) when I paid to have CNG then later LPG installed in my work & home vehicles. Added to the years earlier when carless days panicked me into a small car . One things for certain I am not going to first cab of the ranks with this solar electricity idea as I reckon its going to be a bit of a subsidy scam just like the windmills are proving in Europe.

Crowd Pleaser: you're wasting your time. These are the people who at first, laugh. Second, insult. And third, will eventually claim that it was obvious all along.

Tesla was a genius,solar is sheer genius.Unfortunately the power lobby,the oil lobby and more importantly a whole raft of uneducated retards who express their opinions in forums like this ensure that NZ big business is never challenged in a scientific way.
Compare Norway to New Zealand economically .Game over .

Norway has oil. Lots of oil. Game over

I think I've worked out how the double headed Labour/Green monster works. David Cunliffe is the leader of Labour, Meteria Turei leader of the Greens, and Russell Norman is leader of the coalition.

Sounds right. David who?

I live in Wellington and had a solar assessment done on my property. Due to the aspect there was a limited number of pv's that could be installed. The resulting ROI was 8.5 years. Not worth it in my view.

Maybe the Greens could offer wind turbines in Wellington and coal furnaces in the West Coast to best harness resources in the natural environments....Dairy farmers and the beehive could also look to move into methane generation if the Greens ever get in.

"at the Crown’s low sovereign interest rate, which is currently 4.1%, the party says."

Currently 4.1%. What happens when the economy tanks because of the other gReen policies? Is the government going to be able to hold that rate? Or, when the rate jumps to 6%, 8%,..., will it still be affordable then?

I have a question that doesn't seem to have turned up so far in the "discussion" above.
How do the costs incurred by the government in subsidizing solar uptake compare to the capital costs involved in meeting our increasing energy needs by building additional power stations of whatever flavor?
Can someone answer this with actual numbers? - I am genuinely curious to know the answer