A Hastings couple say their decision to convert to solar energy is about becoming independent from power companies and not about a green crusade.

Jenny and Philip Povey considered converting about 10 years ago but took the plunge after speaking with Hawke's Bay Solar in 2014.

With fifteen solar panels on the very top on their double-story home the couple have the system of sourcing solar energy down to a fine art. Being anchored in this position means nearby trees do not shade the panels and they get optimum sunshine.

The couple's house is big, with two garages, computers, a television and other normal household appliances.


Mrs Povey said their power bill used to be as much as $250 a month, and now it was as low as $60 in the summer and $90 in the winter.

But what they have their sights currently set on is a battery, similar to the battery used to fuel an electric car, to store power that is banked up during the sunniest days.

When too much power is stored up then it is sold back to the grid for 8c per unit, and when the couple run out of power they buy it from the grid for 33c.
Batteries could cost thousands, but Mr Povey said in the long run it would make the scheme more effective.

After having used solar power for more than a year now the couple have lived through a winter and know which months give the most sunshine hours, July giving the least.

"This March has been nowhere near as good as last March," Mrs Povey said.

The Povey's both plan their day, to an extent, around factoring in the power they use and admit it takes a bit of planning.

"If I want to do some baking I will wait until I am going to use the oven for dinner," Mrs Povey said, as the oven was one of the biggest power zappers in the house.

Not only do the Poveys plan, cook ahead and freeze meals to make the most of their available power, but they also keep a record of the daily meter readings.

Each morning a reading is taken and then the following morning another reading before being deducted from the previous to keep a record of their power use. They also ensure things like the washing machine and dish washer are never on at the same time, as well as turning off the hot water over night.

"It's amazing, " Mrs Povey said.

She said it wasn't about going green, but about becoming independent from power companies.

"I think it should be compulsory for all new houses to have solar panels."