The PicoGrid Approach to Energy Management

At Greenstage, we are constantly looking to improve and refine the best strategy for energy management for your home or business. These days, there are many resellers of solar gear, but from our perspective solar PV is just one device. There’s no silver bullet out there – a single technology does not solve the problem, and moreover technology keeps changing. What counts is keeping an eye on what gives you the best value. Read on below about what we think are the steps toward getting the most return on investment.

Step 1: Measure your energy use

A lot of companies promising low cost solar systems are ignoring one of the most important aspects of solar design – knowing how much power you really need, and when. In New Zealand, and many other places around the world, electricity companies are not offering a very good deal in terms of buying the surplus power that you are producing from your panels. What happens is that a large solar PV system – while it may produce a lot electricity for your building – will “spill” power into the grid during the middle of the day. This happens when your building has consumed all it can from the solar array, but there is still more power being produced. If your building is not using a lot of power at the time when sun is shining, that surplus electricity just goes to grid, and usually the price at which a power provider will credit you is pretty slim – if anything at all. So before you consider the total amount of power a solar PV system will generate, think first about matching the PV system to your actual consumption. Our PicoGrid Audit service does this for you – we give you a total picture of how you’re using power, when you’re using power and what kind of solar system would make the most sense for you.

Step 2: Drop your consumption

Did you know that while solar PV offers some very good returns in the long term, that there are faster ways to get a return on investment? High quality LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting is a great way to start reducing your power bill, while getting the same – and often better – bright warm white lighting services within your home and building. So before you go solar, there are things you can do to drop your power usage – without sacrificing your lifestyle. These days there are many devices on the market, but we believe it’s worth it to choose high quality fixtures with warranties, top light quality and long lifespan. Once again, our PicoGrid Audit will specify and offer these units at wholesale prices as part of a energy management solution. LEDs are not the only way to save power – depending on your power usage data we can often make other recommendations as well. Plus, just by having monitoring giving you real-time feedback on how you’re consuming power, it has been shown that homes save 5-15% on their power bill, simply from behavior changes.

Step 3: Know what your roof will really generate before you buy

There is not a one-size fits all system when it comes to solar PV. The type and quality of components matter, your roof construction matters, the way the cabling runs to the main switchboard is important, the way you can expand the system in the future matters. Depending on your roof’s orientation north, the pitch of the roof and the shading that hits the roof from trees/buildings over 12 months of the year and over 12 hours a day, can make a big difference. We offer a Solar Pathfinder analysis as part of our Solar Audit. Solar Pathfinder is the industry standard solar measurement device, producing accurate and conservative estimates you can depend on. We have no incentive to exaggerate solar performance, or try to push lower quality gear. The reason is that our monitoring solution will tell you the truth – numbers don’t lie. And if your system is not performing up to our promise, we’re all going to know about it. The truth is that solar, well configured, does perform very well across New Zealand over the long term. Make sure you get the best quality gear, the best advice and the best information about solar PV in the context of your energy use today and the future. Solar costs are still falling while electricity prices are rising – think about staggering your investment over time and taking advantage of trends. Is lithium energy storage or hot water diversion in your future? Talk to us about what makes strategic sense for you.

Step 4: Get a competitive quote for a super high quality, upgradable system

One of the most important aspects to a high satisfaction of solar owners is having the right solar electrician. As with everything, quality matters and this is especially important when it comes to the craftsmanship and professionalism of someone working on your home or business. Don’t risk an installation with someone who is going to cut corners, hide shoddy workmanship or substitute components with lower quality ones. Our electricians and their prices come to you transparently – we are proud to work with them as they are the best in the business. Also, as a shrewd customer, make sure you maximise your value. Get the good stuff, from people who know how to install and service it, but don’t pay a premium for a exotic brand or for a commodity you can price yourself. Greenstage is a service organization aiming to provide the best experience from start to finish.

Step 5: Get started today

With a PicoGrid Audit, there is no commitment to purchasing a whole system. However, we believe you will learn a lot about your options, your energy context and how you can save money over the long term. Getting started doesn’t mean that a big pricetag – you can begin with a $199 + GST Audit, and once we have that on file, we can help advise you going forward, when you’re ready. Often there are price drops or technology advancements while you evaluate options, and immediate savings once you decide to proceed. What we aim sell is ROI – Return on Investment – and if you’re not getting that from us, then it’s not worth doing at all. We’re convinced that you’ll find a lot of value in our services and we’re ready to be challenged on that point. Until you know what energy management could mean for your lifestyle or business, you’re a little in the dark. But call us, email us, Facebook today and we will shine some light on those savings. They are yours for the long term.