Here at Vector we're passionate about technology and contributing towards New Zealand's future.
We're looking at ways to generate energy that are especially suited to us here in New Zealand, so that our homes, schools and businesses can generate some of their own energy in the future. This can help people save money, and also help save the planet!
We all love it when the sun is shining, and we love it even more at Vector because we can use the energy from the sun's rays to make electricity!
How do solar systems work?
Special panels known as solar photovoltaic cells capture sunlight and convert it directly into electricity that can either be used to power things, or stored to use later. Solar systems are considered one of the most environmentally friendly types of electricity generation because they make no noise, have no emissions and can last for over 25 years on a roof!
After lots of testing, our engineers at Vector have developed a solar product which uses high efficiency photovoltaic panels created by a world leader in panel manufacture. The efficient design means that they will generate electricity in low light conditions, even when it's cloudy! The panels are mostly made from glass and aluminium and can be recycled at the end of their useful life. In fact, more than 80% of the material used in Vector's solar panels can be recycled.
Vector's solar technology shows people how much electricity their home is making and using, and people can sell any solar energy they create but don't use back to big energy retailers to pass on to someone else who needs it – now that's clever!
Storing energy in a battery allows the solar electricity that is generated during the day to be used later, even when the sun isn't shining. This means that people who are not at home during the day can use the solar electricity their home generates in the evening when they get home! Vector used lithium-ion battery technology in its solar system, which is the same technology used in electric cars. Like the solar panels, the battery is also recyclable at the end of its life.
DID YOU KNOW?
A three kilowatt (kW) solar system could generate over 4,000Wh of electricity a year – that's half of the average NZ home's electricity needs!
A smart meter is an electrical meter that records consumption of electric energy in intervals of an hour or less and communicates that information daily back to the power company.
Customers can access this online and keep up to speed with their power consumption every day.
In 2008, Vector started the mass installation of smart meters across New Zealand. Nearly 500,000 meters have already been installed. Vector hopes to install another 250,000 in the next two years.
Vector's smart meters have many benefits including:
providing better information about actual power usage
removing the need for a physical meter read
the ability for customers to access information remotely.
Smart meters are seen as the way of the future – allowing customers to manage their energy efficiently.
Vector's smart meters use leading-edge technology and have been designed with a future of home automation and smart appliances in mind.
When used to their full potential, our smart meters are powerful tools providing considerable benefits to all consumers.