Anthony Wilding Retirement Village residents Arlene and Peter Sowman have, for nine months, been part of a power saving trial based on new generation solar roof tiles, retrofitted to their stylish townhouse.
Soon they are about to get ‘homekits’ that will provide them with extra information about how much savings they are making on their monthly power bill.
Consultant Henry Cassin is helping monitor the Ryman Healthcare village solar trial on behalf of CSR Building Products. Henry said the homekits will in ‘real time’ provide a dashboard, showing: 1) solar generation, 2) house consumption and 3) energy both exported to and imported from the grid.
Peter says the couple have already noticed savings to their power bill as a result of the power of the sun.
But without the dashboard they cannot gauge how much less power from the grid they need in their townhouse given the ‘free’ generation from the solar tiles.
Henry says Monier manufactures the tiles fitted to Anthony Wilding townhouses, taking part in the trial. CSR’s products include Monier tiles and roofing systems. The homekits are an integral part of the system. The tiles are designed to provide power for consumption first, and for export second.
“We’re going to put in this metering so Ryman and ourselves can look at how much solar is being used directly in the house, what’s being exported, and how much we’re having to buy from the grid at the certain time of the day.” Residents will also know the most appropriate times they could use power hungry devices like clothes dryers.
Above: Peter and Arlene Sowman with their solar connection.
Ryman Contracts & Systems Manager and Chair of Ryman’s Sustainability Leadership Group Darrin Findlay says the solar tile trial is part of a range of initiatives Ryman Healthcare is trialing in the sustainability space.
“Obviously a lot of our residents both current and potential have a high awareness of sustainability. That’s increasing now,” Darrin says.
Investors in Ryman Healthcare are also keen to keep up to date with such initiatives. Ryman has also introduced electric vehicles and fast-charging hubs at some of its villages and upgraded recycling initiatives. Residents have helped out by building pest traps in collaboration with the Department of Conservation.
Ryman Construction Manager – Safety, Quality & Systems Brian Ward says Ryman would like to run the solar tile trial for a full year with smart meters before any assessment takes place. “When we get to the 12 month mark, we’ll assess. We’ll know we’ve seen a full cycle of the regular use by the trial townhouses.”
Meanwhile the trial residents will continue to benefit from the new power source, designed to reduce bills. The replacement tiles fit into the roof in a low key profile.
In Christchurch, Arlene and Peter are looking forward to being able to better monitor savings. Their monthly power bills already show they are getting a credit of 8 cents per kilowatt unit of power exported, Peter adds.