knowledge article

How to generate the most money $$ from your solar panels


There has never been a better time to go solar in New Zealand! More and more Kiwis are reaping the environmental and financial benefits of home solar, along with greater energy independence

Are you ready to make the switch? Here, we dive a bit deeper into the numbers, and explore the actual $$ savings you can expect to generate from your home solar system. 

Spoiler: if you invest in solar, you could achieve lifetime bill savings of $51,000+!

How much ‘free’ power can you generate each year?

If you are using the right amount of solar panels for your home, you can generate enough power to significantly reduce or even eliminate your annual electricity bill and even get credits back from your power company when selling back to the grid! Here’s an indication of the energy value you could generate annually:

How much could you save on power bills with home solar?
System size Number of panels $ per year
‘Small’ - 3KW 8 $1,398.10
‘Medium’ - 5KW 12 $2,097.14
‘Large’ - 8KW 20 $3,495.24

Calculations based on 420w solar panels and grid-sourced electricity at $0.30 per Kw 

How to sell home solar energy back to the grid

Generally we design your solar system to match your home's current and future power needs, but, if you generate more solar power than you use, it’s not ‘wasted’ money! You can export your excess energy back to the grid and electricity retailers will pay you a ‘buy-back’ rate. These rates vary between retailers, and are usually between 7-17c per unit.

Number of panels
17¢/kWh with a 5-year contract. All other plans offer 12¢/kWh.
Octopus Energy
13¢/kWh on a fixed term option. 12.5¢/kWh on a flexible option.
Electric Kiwi
12.5¢/kWh on Electric Kiwi's 'MoveMaster' plan, and 8¢/kWh on their other plans.
Ecotricity 12 - 16¢/kWh (standard user/low user) - rates are conditional on having a 6kWh+ home battery installed with a system by an Ecotricity Solar partner. Without a battery the rate is 11¢/kWh. Check T&Cs.
Genesis 12¢/kWh – Genesis offers solar buy back on all of their residential fixed and flexible term plans.
Powershop 13¢/kWh - available on most plans.
Frank Energy 11¢/kWh - no fixed term contract is required. System must be less than 50kW.
Comtricity 14 - 15¢/kWh - some regional variation may apply.
Toast Electric 10¢/kWh - available to Wellington and Electra areas on low and standard user plans.
Mercury 8.5¢/kWh or 18¢/kWh exclusive to Harrisons Solar customers
Contact 8¢/kWh - Contact offer solar buy-back on most of their residential plans.
Nova 7.4¢/kWh - Nova offer solar buy back on most of their residential plans
Megatel 7¢/kWh - Solar buy-back only offered on a case-by-case basis.
Flick Buy-back rate varies according to the wholesale electricity price.
Pulse Energy Varies depending on location
Globug None - Globug does not offer solar buy-back
Tensor None - Tensor does not offer solar buy-back.
rates as of 01/02/2024 from Powerswitch

Harrisons Solar customers have the added benefit of exclusive access to the highest buy-back rate in New Zealand! At 18c per unit (20c including gst), your solar investment goes further with us!

18c Harrisons and Mercury buy back rate

Yes, but how much can I actually save long-term!?

Over the 25 year lifespan of a solar system, the cost is covered in the first 7-9 years - referred to as the ‘payback period’. For the remaining 16-18 years, you’ll truly be using ‘free’ power!

New Zealand household electricity prices have steadily increased by 3% per year in recent years, and are set to double by 2028, but buying solar today helps you lock in the savings now.

This example uses a typical family home that has a $269 power bill in a month. They have installed a 5.2kW Harrisons Solar Power System that has 13 premium Qcells long-lasting and high power solar panels with a top-quality Fronius inverter.
This example uses a typical family home that has a $269 power bill in a month. They have installed a 5.2kW Harrisons Solar Power System that has 13 premium Qcells long-lasting and high power solar panels with a top-quality Fronius inverter.
This is an example only generated from "OpenSolar" software using a low energy user, not to be relied upon as individual circumstances vary.
Your projected energy cost is calculated by considering a 3.0% increase in energy cost each year, due to trends in the raising cost of energy. This estimate is based on your selected preferences, current energy costs and the position and orientation of your roof to calculate the efficiency of the system. Projections are based on estimated usage of 7920 kWh per year, assuming AKL - Contact Energy Standard User Electricity Tariff. Your electricity tariff rates may change as a result of installing the system. You should contact your electricity retailer for further information.System Performance Assumptions: System Total losses: 13.9%, Inverter losses: 3.2%, Optimizer losses: 0%, Shading losses: 0%, Performance Adjustment: 0%, Output Calculator: System Advisor Model 2020.02.29.r2. Panel Orientations: 8 panels with Azimuth 7 and Slope 20. Estimates do not include replacement costs of equipment not covered by a warranty. Components may need replacement after their warranty period. Financial discount rate assumed: 6.75% Price excludes Retailer Smart Meter should you want us to install your Smart Meter it will be an additional cost. Please visit for additional disclosures from OpenSolar.Estimated solar generation is calculated by multiplying the number of estimated panels, the wattage of each panel, and the average number of sunshine hours per day. This calculation is based on a $0.30 per kWh electricity rate and is projected over a period of one year and twenty five years

Summer solar will offset winter energy use

During summer, the longer daylight hours will help to maximise your solar power generation, so your energy bills will be at their lowest and credits back from your power company will be at their highest. During winter, all Kiwis experience a significant increase in power usage due to higher heating demands; after a summer of minimal energy bills, your wallet will still be thanking you! 

That said, high quality solar panels are still effective in winter, so you will still enjoy the benefits of solar all year round.

Solar will increase the value of your home by an average of $35,000!

Homes with solar panel installations are more attractive to potential buyers thanks to reduced energy costs and environmental benefits. So, you can recoup more of your initial investment when you sell your property. We teamed up with to analyse thousands of homes installed with Harrisons Solar. On average, our installations increased the home's selling price by 4.4% or $35K!

Batteries will maximise the potential of your solar system

Solar batteries offer an efficient way to store the free surplus energy produced during peak sunlight hours for use at night time when grid power costs the most. Clever use of your solar battery may also significantly decrease your payback period! Here’s more on how batteries are making solar more affordable than ever. Check out the Tesla Powerwall - the worlds most sought after home battery.

Tesla Powerwall

Smart apps, solar monitoring and money saving hacks

Solar monitoring is crucial for maximising returns on your solar power system. It provides real-time data on power generation and consumption throughout your home, enabling you to make impactful changes and save on your energy bills. Learn more about solar monitoring here.

Our team can help you add hot water timers and diverters so you are using your solar power to heat your hot water cylinder during the day, instead of pricier grid power at night. Combine this with changing your high-power appliance habits a little! Use the delay functions on your washing machine or dishwasher to run during sunlight hours, and schedule your air conditioning and heating to get the main “energy sapping” hard work done before the sun goes down.

Tesla app

Now is the time to maximise your solar savings - take advantage of our latest Sale!

On top of our usual price promise, we’re offering high-quality solar system packages so you can get quick and easy savings by slashing your power bill straight away.

See our specials page for all details, and T&Cs. 

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