New Zealand’s electricity infrastructure was built at a time when energy was plentiful, and was designed to support the flow of power from large centralised generators toward end users. However, new energy technologies are starting to challenge this model. Solar photovoltaics (PV) enable end-users to generate their own energy, and, in some cases, sell power back into the grid. Electric vehicles (EVs), which may have a role to play in New Zealand’s transport future, could also dramatically shift the demand profile of households charging their cars overnight. And Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) could offer households and utilities the opportunity to more actively manage this changing demand.
To understand the uptake of these new technologies in more depth we have conducted four different pieces of research. Firstly, because these technologies are more prevalent in other countries around the world, we conducted a literature review to explore international experience and insights. Second, we interviewed early adopters of PV and EVs. This gave us insights into the drivers, barriers and enablers of uptake. Third, we conducted an online survey and choice modelling experiment to explore householders’ preference for different characteristics of PV, EV and HEMS technologies. And finally, we used System Dynamics modelling to explore how different aspects of the system interact to facilitate the uptake of PV and EVs in New Zealand.
Drawing these insights together has enabled us to gain a richer understanding of new energy technologies – solar PV, electric vehicles, and home energy management – might break into the New Zealand marketplace.