Powering a real sense of community

Case Studies Community







Background
Kāinga Tuatahi in Kupe Street is a 30-home residential development for iwi first home owners delivered by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. Vector has collaborated with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei to demonstrate how a future community energy solution might operate by installing solar and battery storage in each home. Not only is this already changing how these residents consume power, but how they will one day share it as well. 

Batteries Included
There’s an inverter and a Tesla Powerwall battery at each property. Residents stay connected to mains power and pay for that, but their monthly energy bills have fallen to as low as $13. Each system is paid for as part of a monthly development fee that residents pay to Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, which also includes their mortgage repayments. 

The energy that's stored in the neighbourhood could one day stay in the neighbourhood
That capability is a glimpse into the future we see for New Zealanders: neighbour-to-neighbour distribution, potentially allowing people with excess power to exchange it with those who need more but don’t have the means, or to sell it to their neighbour or back to the grid for additional income.

Photo credits: Paperboy and Michael Lewis 

A Year in, the project's proving a win-win

look around
Staying true to core principles

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has fulfilled its commitment to care for its land and the environment. They've saved the equivalent of 12.55 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).


Less reliance on the grid

From December 2016 to April 2017, the households were provided 47% of their electricity needs directly from their individual solar systems.

        
Savings

Residents monthly energy bills have consistently decreased, with some falling as low as $13 dollars.

       
       
For Vector

Our involvement reflects our commitment to a lower carbon economy and greater social equality. And the best place for us to start doing that is at home, in Auckland. 

 

When my cousin got her first bill she said 'this is great'. And it was like $50. Then she actively tried to challenge hereself to bring it down... now, I think one of the lowest power bills she got was $13.

NGĀTI WHĀTUA ŌRĀKEI RESIDENT

New Behaviours

Perhaps most importantly, this initiative is making a real difference at a day-to-day level for the people who are using this new technology. Residents at Kupe Street have said that being part of this community has made them more aware of their power bills, and that’s pushing them to really try to reduce their bill as much as possible. So we’re seeing a shift in personal behaviour over and above the changes prompted by the technology. Residents can directly influence the impact that the solar panels are having – on their lives and on the lives of those around them.
 

Take a closer look with a flyover of Kupe Street: