A small suburban house is one step closer to energy self-sufficiency.

St John's resident Mai Digby watched as an energy monitoring system was installed at her house this week. Digby said her house would soon be like a small power station.

Digby's 8-year-old son Damian was delighted. "Every day he's been coming down and looking at the box." It was tech-savvy Damian who urged Mai to enter the Right House solar-panel contest in the Herald on Sunday.

The photovoltaic panel could generate 4160kw a year, potentially slashing the family power bill in half. Digby said she'd use savings to help pay off her student loan. She studied for a diploma in business administration at MIT in 2011.


The monitoring equipment will be connected to the Splash website, which gives real-time updates. Splash Monitoring shows how much power is generated, and what that power equates to, in terms of household tasks such as boiling cups of tea or cooking toast. A similar system at SkyCity has generated enough energy to power a three-person house for seven years.

"Actually, the main thing is I have to wait for Vector to come down and install a new reading box. Then you'll know how much the solar panel produces," said Mai.

The contest followed a Herald on Sunday Warm Homes campaign, which urged landlords to insulate homes.