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"Also, a lot of the older, more expensive suburbs are on hilly terrain, which can also reduce the sunlight that reaches the roofs."
Ultimately, the model suggests that if 250,000 houses had 36sq m of solar rooftop panels, they could together meet Auckland Council's "low carbon" target of powering the equivalent of 176,565 homes with the sun.
Dr Suomalainen's analysis found that some of the best-placed Auckland areas - in Botany Downs, Shelly Park, Massey and Flatbush - could potentially harvest nearly 4000 kilowatt hours (kWh) each year.
While the average Kiwi home annually consumes about 8000 kWh, Dr Suomalainen said that for well-placed solar users, the amount they could save on electricity costs would depend on their configuration.
"It will depend on the electricity price, and whether you are renting a solar panel or have bought one yourself," she said. "But generally, with the current electricity price, you tend to save money as long as you are consuming all the electricity you produce yourself."
Dr Suomalainen has worked with colleague Dr Tony Downward to examine the consequences of solar uptake on the electricity market.