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Your 3-minute guide to solar (when you know nothing about solar)

Solar might seem daunting to follow - but in reality, there are three key elements that make up a solar system and smart technology takes care of the rest.

So, get comfy, today’s lesson is your quick guide to solar.

Understanding your specific situation

When talking to Harrisons Solar, you’ll be asked a series of questions to see if solar is right for your property, and how much you can expect to save. With an at-home consultation Harrisons will:

1.Check your roof for the aspect to the sun, orientation and shading areas.

2.Assess you power bill to design the right sized system and advise where savings can be made.

3.Assess the condition of the roof, access for wiring etc.

4.Propose the best solar system for you.

What does a solar system include?

The three main components of your solar system are the panels, the inverter and the mounting system. It is important that each component works together, with no component compromising the performance, safety or life expectancy of another.

Panels: panels may look the same, but they can differ greatly. Low-quality panels typically generate less power, so remember to ask what the estimated monthly and annual production in kW/h of a brand before you buy.

Inverter: they convert the energy generated by the panels into electricity and are the brains of the system. Often, failure is the result of a low-quality unit not performing.

Mounting system: Most mounting systems are made of aluminium with stainless steel hardware and are designed to accept a variety of solar modules on a variety of roof types. The best mounting systems are manufactured with higher grades of aluminium and stainless steel for less roof weight and lower levels of corrosion over longer periods of time.

SEANZ is the representative body of the solar industry and they recommend all consumers use a SEANZ member to advise, quote and install a solar system. This is for safety reasons and accountability.

SEANZ also recommend you invest in panels backed by a long warranty, so you have a solar system which is built to last. The Harrisons brand has been around for more than 58 years and is number one in residential solar in New Zealand. They only sell premium brands with a trusted reputation and make it easy for all New Zealanders to take advantage of solar with interest-free terms and no up-front costs.

Battery Storage

Batteries are the holy grail of solar energy. Though they are not ‘a must’ when installing a solar system, batteries can make all the difference if you want maximum control and achieve the biggest savings. Harrisons only supply globally-recognised battery brands such as Tesla and sonnenBatterie – brands with quality hardware, smart technology and long-term warranties.

In many cases a solar battery can be added to your panel system ‘down the track’, however, this depends on which inverter you have installed.

Power management you can set and forget

It’s important to have a system that matches your power consumption – that’s paramount. But these days, brands like Tesla, Panasonic and LG offer additional smart technology, such as timers and mobile-friendly apps to make your life easier and ensure the system works smarter for you.

These features are user-friendly so you know how to use the system and when to use the system to produce optimum savings.


Surprisingly, a typical installation normally takes 1 day. First, the frame is attached to the roof, the panels are pre-wired and then fixed to the frame, then the electrician installs the inverter and the project manager powers the system and tests it to ensure everything is running as it should.

Get a credit on your power bill and make your own cheaper power!

Customers sometimes have a credit on their power bill, but power companies don’t pay very much for putting power back into the grid. It’s just not in their interest. The biggest savings are created by using and storing the power yourself.

See, that wasn’t daunting at all … and now you’re done!

If you’d like to know more about solar, check out the 10 Point Check List video from Peter Wolfkamp from The Block NZ - or call Harrisons on 0800 00 33 54 for an at-home, no-obligation free quote and see how much you could be saving.

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