Solar Power System Cost, Savings & Investment

As traditional power sources become increasingly unreliable and costly, there's never been a better time to harness the power of the sun. Solar panels and systems are now more efficient and affordable than ever. Seize the solar advantage with ZEN Energy, and make a greener choice for your world.

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Initial Solar Investment

Understanding Your Solar system cost

Choosing solar energy is a step towards a sustainable future. We know that everyone’s needs are unique, which is why we don’t just sell solar systems—we create tailored solutions. Below are starting prices for three foundational solar systems, based on system size, designed to give you an idea of potential costs.

Low Power Usage

Small System*

  • Monthly Bill: $150 to $250
  • Annual Consumption (kWh): 7,000 to 9,000
  • Household Size: Up to 4 people
  • Appliances: Standard use
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12 Panels / 5.28 kW
Starting from:
$11,900 (inc. GST)

Medium Power Usage

Mid-sized System*

  • Monthly Bill: $250 to $350
  • Annual Consumption (kWh): 9,000 to 12,000
  • Household Size: 4-5 people
  • ‍Appliances: Medium use (e.g spa, EV)
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16 Panels / 7.04 kW
Starting from:
$15,900 (incl. GST)

High Power Usage

Large System*

  • Monthly Bill: $350+
  • Annual Consumption (kWh): 12,000+
  • Household Size: 5+ people
  • Appliances: Heavy use (e.g spa, EV, pool, central and/or underfloor heating)
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20 Panels / 8.8 kW
Starting from:
$19,900 (inc. GST)
Note: Pricing reflects a Grid-Tied solar system (no battery storage) as of April 2024. For solutions tailored to your energy needs, goals, and to optimise your investment returns, reach out for a custom proposal.

What affects the cost of your solar power system?

Energy Needs

System size typically scales with consumption levels, directly affecting cost.

Battery Capacity

Solar Battery Icon

Chosen based on usage patterns, the battery size is a key investment factor.

Components Quality

Solar Inverter Icon

High-grade panels, inverters, and batteries impact cost and long-term reliability.

Install Complexity

Cost is influenced by roofing, site specifics, wiring needs, and scaffolding.

Energy Goals

Grid independence or substantial energy savings goals necessitate a larger system.

Tech Upgrades

Smart tech and EV charging integration increase both efficiency and initial cost.

Custom Solutions

Personalised energy systems for unique requirements (e.g. smart homes) alter the financial outlay.

Embarking on solar energy is unique to you. We’re here to guide you through, from choosing the right components to designing a system that meets your energy needs and lifestyle. Expect a tailored solution focused on efficiency, savings, and unmatched performance.

Discover Your Solar Savings

Embrace The Sun,
Reap The Savings

Switching to solar power isn't just good for the environment; it's a smart financial move that significantly reduces your energy bills. Here’s a real-life example to illustrate the tangible savings you can achieve by transitioning to solar.

Monthly Bill Savings







Previous Monthly Bill
Solar Monthly Bill
Source: ZEN Energy | Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment ( | Based on pricing as at April 2024

Cumulative Savings






Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5
Year 6
Year 7
Year 8
Year 9
Year 10
Year 11
Year 12
Year 13
Year 14
Year 15
Year 16
Year 17
Year 18
Year 19
Year 20
Year 21
Year 23
Year 25
Year 22
Year 23
Year 25
Energy Cost Savings
Export Cedits
Source: ZEN Energy | Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment ( | Based on pricing as at April 2024

In our real-life example, we look at a family of four paying an average electricity bill of $242 monthly, based on an average daily usage of 22 kWh. Their goal was to cut down on electricity costs and target a self-consumption rate of 70%—meaning they aimed to use 70% of the energy generated from their solar system directly. They decided to invest $11,932 (including GST) in a tailored solar system, installing a 5.28kW grid-tied system with 12 LONGi 440W panels paired with a Redback SI5000 inverter.

By switching to solar, their average monthly electricity bill dropped to $73.07, saving them approximately $168.94 onaverage each month, or 69.81%. Over 25 years, this amounts to a total saving of $70,740.08. These figures consider the possibility of rising electricity costs and income from selling back excess electricity.

Additionally, their decision to go solar had a significant positive impact on the environment—it was the equivalent of planting 207 trees and powering 123 light bulbs around the clock.

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Real-Life Solar Success Journey:
Cost Savings & Environmental Impact

$70.7k smart savings

25 years of solar turned into $70,740.08 of smart, eco-savings.

207 trees planted

Their solar choice equals the green impact of planting 207 trees.

123 lights bulbs on

Lighting up 123 bulbs for 25 years, all through clean, solar energy.

Stefan Teat profile image

In our real-life example, we examine a family of four who faced an average monthly electricity bill of $242.01, based on their 22 kWh average daily usage. Committed to reducing their monthly electricity bill and improving their environmental footprint, they sought a sustainable solution with the goal of achieving a self-consumption target of 70%—reflecting the percentage of energy they wanted to consume directly from their solar setup.

The family's switch to solar involved an upfront investment of $11,932 (GST included) in a 5.28kW grid-tied solar system. This tailored setup included 12 LONGi 440W solar panels paired with a high-efficiency Redback SI5000 inverter.

This transition significantly reduced their average electricity bill to $73.07 per month, achieving average savings of about $168.94 monthly, or 69.81%. Over 25 years, this translates to total savings of $70,740.08. This calculation takes into account potential increases in electricity prices and earnings from exporting surplus energy.

Beyond just the financial gains, the family's switch also led to substantial environmental contributions: equivalent to planting 207 trees and providing enough energy to power 123 light bulbs full time.

trees planted

Their solar choice equals the green impact of planting 207 trees.

$70.7 k
smart savings

25 years of solar turned into $70,740.08 of smart, eco-savings.

light bulbs powered

Lighting up 123 bulbs for 25 years, all through clean, solar energy.

Solar: The Smart Financial Move Today

Understanding the Shift: Rising Electricity vs. Falling Solar Costs

The cost of energy has seen a major shift in the last decade. Since 2008, there's been a consistent rise in electricity prices, while the cost of installing a solar system has significantly dropped. This change makes the case for shifting to solar more convincing than ever before.

electricity cost (¢/kW)

solar installation cost ($/kW)





Chart showing historical energy costs in NZ v Solar Installation Costs in NZ over the last 16 years









Chart showing historical energy costs in NZ v Solar Installation Costs in NZ over the last 16 years

Solar Gets Cheaper:

The cost of solar has dropped significantly since 2008 (-83% decrease).

Electricity Prices Rising:

Electricity costs have soared over the past 16 years (+58% increase).

Source: Electricity Cost: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment ( | Solar Installation Cost: Combined $/kW data from & ZEN Energy | 2024 Electricity Costs (¢/kW) are based on pricing as at February  2024 | 2024 Solar Install Costs ($/kW) are based on pricing as at April 2024

The chart above illustrates a compelling trend: while electricity prices have surged by 58% from 2008 to 2024, the cost of installing solar has plummeted by 83%. This stark contrast underscores the growing affordability and economic benefit of opting for solar today. With electricity costs on the rise, the decreasing price of solar installations signals an exceptional financial opportunity. Going solar is a wise investment, promising significant long-term savings during a period when it's most financially favourable.

Unlock Financial Benefits with Solar Energy

Investing in Solar: Understanding Payback & ROI

Investing in solar energy is advantageous not only for the environment but also financially. Grasping key concepts such as the payback period and return on investment (ROI) is essential to see how solar systems can provide immediate and long-term financial benefits.

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Understanding Solar Payback Periods:

The payback period is critical when considering a solar investment's financial payoff. It tells you how long it will take for the savings you make on your energy bills to equal the initial cost of the solar system. This period will differ based on your specific system and how much energy you use.

Annual Return on Solar Investment (%)







(per real-life example)
Payback Period (Years)
Source: ZEN Energy | Based on pricing as at April 2024

The chart above shows different payback periods and their respective annual return on investment (ROI), which includes:

  • 5-Year Scenario: Quick ROI for high-efficiency systems, reflecting a 20% annual return.
  • 5.5-Year Scenario: Based on our real-life example of a family of four, this tailored setup offered optimal returns, delivering a 18.1% annual return.
  • 6-Year Scenario: A realistic goal for many homeowners, offering a balance between cost and savings at a 16.7% annual return.
  • 7-Year Scenario: Reflects a more conservative system setup, offering a 14.3% annual return.

Custom solar solutions mean the payback period can be adjusted to meet your energy needs, demonstrating how different setups can be optimised for faster returns.

Turn Your Energy Savings into Financial Gains

Switching to solar energy reduces your electricity bills and frees up more of your income for smarter financial decisions.

Quick Insights:

  • ‍Pre-Tax vs. Post-Tax Savings: Traditional electricity bills come out of your after-tax income. By cutting these costs, solar energy effectively increases your disposable income—funds that can be reallocated within your budget.‍‍
  • The Solar Advantage: The pre-tax savings from solar can be invested in tax-advantaged accounts such as retirement or pension plans, thereby enhancing your financial health and long-term security.

The Bottom Line
Going solar does more than just reduce energy costs; it unlocks financial opportunities, facilitating smarter, tax-efficient investments. It’s a choice that delivers benefits to both your wallet and the environment.

Maximise Returns with Pre-Tax Savings on Solar

Take a clearer look at how smartly channeling solar savings can substantially enhance your investment returns (assumes a marginal income tax rate of 33%):

Investing Solar Savings Wisely:

  • 5-Year Payback Scenario: The return on investment increases from 20.0% to 29.9% with smart allocation to tax-advantaged accounts.
  • 5.5-Year Payback Scenario (per real-life example): By strategically reallocating savings, the return improves from 18.1% to 27.0%.
  • 6-Year Scenario: The investment yield rises from 16.7% to 24.9% post strategic savings allocation.
  • 7-Year Scenario: Strategic reinvestment boosts returns from 14.3% to 21.3%.

Investing in solar goes beyond bill reduction––it significantly enhances your financial growth rates when you effectively use the pre-tax savings in tax-advantaged accounts like pension plans and retirement funds.

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Solar Investments: Outshining Traditional Options

Why Solar Makes Financial Sense?

In today's economic climate, choosing where to invest is key. Solar energy is not just green—it also delivers more financially compared to traditional investments like real estate, bonds, stocks, and term deposits. Here's how solar stacks up over 5 to 7 years against these options:

5 Years
6 Years
7 Years







Solar (20.0%)
Shares (5.6%)
Real Estate (5.9%)
Term Deposit (5.2%)
Bonds (4.8%)
Solar (16.7%)
Shares (5.7%)
Real Estate (5.3%)
Term Deposit (5.2%)
Bonds (4.8%)
Solar (14.3%)
Shares (7.6%)
Real Estate (5.2%)
Term Deposit (5.2%)
Bonds (4.9%)
Annual Return (%)
Source: Bonds: NZ Government Bonds - (no data available for 6 year term so assumed 4.82%) | Term Deposits: ANZ Term Deposits - (no data available for 6 & 7 year term so assumed 5.2% ) | Real Estate: NZ House Price Index - (no data available prior to 1 April 2018 so assumed 5.26% for 7 year period) | Shares: NZX Price Index - | Solar: ZEN Energy - Based on pricing as at April 2024

The numbers are clear: solar investments yield high returns, outperforming traditional investment options over similar timeframes. Investing in solar isn't only good for your finances—it also supports sustainable energy, providing financial benefits and helping the environment.

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Solar Energy Systems: Purchase vs. Lease

Choosing Your Solar Energy Path

Deciding whether to buy or lease a solar energy system is an important decision. Both options have their pros and cons, such as initial costs, long-term savings, and effects on home value. We'll help simplify this decision for you, focusing on what best meets your financial and environmental goals.

Purchasing a Solar System


  • Ownership: Secures complete control and the full spectrum of benefits.
  • Savings: Delivers significant reductions in immediate and long-term energy costs.
  • Home Value: Increases the resale value of your property.


  • Upfront Cost: Though initially higher, can be offset with Green Loans, featuring competitive rates and flexible terms.

Leasing a Solar System


  • Low Initial Cost: Minimises upfront expenses, though Green Loans for purchases offer a similar benefit with the added advantage of eventual ownership.


  • No Ownership: Excludes you from certain financial and practical perks.
  • Lower Savings: Fixed lease payments may reduce overall savings due to included finance charges.
  • No Increase in Property Value: The absence of ownership means not boosting your home's market value.

Purchasing a solar system with ZEN Energy not only ensures you gain full ownership but also maximises long-term savings and enhances your property’s value. This route offers a solid investment in both your financial future and the planet's well-being.

Solar Financing Made Simple

Install Solar Panles With No Upfront Investment

Make the most of green loans. Enjoy clean, renewable energy on your terms with $0 upfront.

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A man in a yellow hoodie, jeans, and beige shoes, carrying a solar panel and a backpack, stands against a solid light blue background.

Unlock Financial Gains with Solar Energy

Empower Your Finances & the Planet

Investing in solar energy provides clear financial advantages:

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Reduce Expenses:

  • Slash Electricity Bills: Experience significant reductions in your monthly energy costs.
  • Shield from Rising Energy Prices: Solar energy shields you from the unpredictability and increases in conventional utility rates.

Increase Financial Returns:

  • Quick Payback: Recoup the initial investment through savings and potential income from selling back excess energy.
  • Stability: Solar provides a predictable alternative to fluctuating energy costs

Boost Property Value

  • Higher Resale Value: Installing solar panels can substantially increase your property’s worth.
  • Attractive to Homebuyers: Solar-equipped homes often sell faster and at higher prices, appealing to eco-conscious buyers.

Eco-Friendly Investment:

  • Sustainable Choice: Adopting solar power significantly lowers your carbon footprint, contributing to the vital effort of environmental conservation.

Solar energy is not only good for the planet but
also benefits your wallet by reducing costs and
enhancing property value 

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Your Personal Solar Savings Await


Ready to discover your solar potential? Use our Solar Savings Calculator to get clear insights on savings, costs, and return on investment from going solar. Make your solar plans a reality with personalised, actionable data now.

Calculate your savings
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