Modern 609m2 house with 4.5kW photovoltaics, solar hot water, wetback powering energy efficient appliances. Come and see!

Contact us today to visit the solar energy house and get extensive hints, tips and notes for free as part of the tour...


Solar Photovoltaic & Solar Hot Water Roof

Following is a series of images showing close ups of the solar electric PV modules and the solar hot water panels on the roof of the Solar Energy House in Meadowbank, Auckland, New Zealand...

The House In 2003

Looking at the upper black coloured roof, on the LHS is the photovoltaic modules (1.95kW of them). On the RHS is the 4 solar hot water panels.


By 2010 we would have added another 250+m2 of floor space which will mean extending (and replacing) the orange coloured tile roof to the right to enable another 2.56kW photovoltaic array to be installed on it (to power the office equipment)... giving a total of 4.5kW of electricity being generated per peak sunshine hour.


So, let's now get 'close up and personal' to the roof...

Original_house_Northside FrntHse_fromRailway

The original house when we purchased it for $380,000 in 2005... then took us 2 years of planning before building to ensure we designed the right structure... helped having John Austin - creator of JASMAX Architectural firm as Kristina's father :-)

The PhotoVoltaics (1.95kw array)

These are actually a Canon roofing profile designed for the Japanese market, however the hassle and expense to get BRANZ approval was going to be too much of a headache, so it was simpler to put them onto an existing roof. To learn more about how this roofing profile is made, the extensive tests they go through, go into more depth about the advantages of the technology, AND to see the construction of these onto a roof then click here. Kristina and Simon Cope gathered a lot of this material when they visited Japan back in 1999 and this was the reason they selected Canon / UniSolar roofing material to install on the roof of their house :-)


Here the Canon / Unisolar PV's are fixed with a simple aluminium channel, wired together in a series configuation to have 2 sets of 15 modules. Of course we had the house designed to be facing true North and the slope of the roof is ~20 degrees to the horz to give maximum harvest of solar electricity in the summer time.


The reason we have 30 of these PV modules on the roof of our Meadowbank, Auckland house is to provide enough electricity to run the domestic appliances in the house. We also operate 2 businesses from our home and to date we have 7 computers (2 employees) powered also from this same system. This means we use MORE electricity than we generate and therefore we have a power bill each month of ~$45-80 dollars a month (average power bill in Auckland is $133-200 dollars a month for similar amount of equipment.)


When we install the other 40 modules I hope to have a near zero power bill each month and only pay the line-rental charge which is much cheaper than having a large (and expensive) battery bank that needs maintenance and replacing every 10-15 yrs...


Come and visit us for an official tour, and I will go into much more detail about the different technologies of PV solar electric modules available (I have used the major two types - single crystal on my previous house for 8 years, and now amphorous technology on this current house). Otherwise, if you want to talk to a supplier of PV solar modules here in New Zealand then click here now. Otherwise, read on....

PVs_CityView_CarsParkedWhileOwnersTakeTrain SamPLacingSolarHWPanels

As an aside you can see the fantastic view we have from our place. (It took us 3 years to find a property that had an East-West orientation with full sun potential all day - and a great view and location to boot!) . Then Kristina (architect) and her father (architect) and I worked on the design over a year before we started adding to the place...


In the far distance you can see the Auckland City Sky Tower, at the end of our street is the Orakei Basin, and to the right of the railway line is Purewa Creek which goes out to the Waitemata Harbour... a perfect location for bringing up children and harvesting sunshine...


Now let's have a look in the attic of our solar energy house at 19 Manapau Street, Meadowbank, Auckland, New Zealand. You will see the biggest domestic hot water cylinder ever! Plus pipes and 7kms of Cat5e cabling! Click here to go to photos of the attic space!

Fixing The Solar Hot Water Panels To The Roof...

Here Sam (my wonderful father) is up on the roof helping me to install both the photovoltaic modules and on this beautiful sunny day, the solar hotwater panels....


The solar hot water panels are Chromagen brand, and are made in Israel. They are imported and distributed throughout New Zealand by John and Kathy Beavon.


Ideally I wanted to have 6 solar hot water panels, but unfortunately ran out of space to fit them... this would have given us an absolute abundance of hotwater in the summer months (what to do with it all!). Never mind, in practice this has not been an issue at all, as the fireplace with the wetback integrated into it has been absolutely wonderful. (Once again David Howell - the overall designer of the hotwater system - designed a fantastic, cost effective solution!).

You can see the solar electric module in the foreground with a blue protective sheet on it to prevent scratches etc when installing. (And yes Sam is wearing a safety harness).

Let's Check Out The Attic!...

Solar Energy House C/- Simon & Kristina Cope | 19 Manapau Street, Meadowbank, Auckland 1072  |  New Zealand  |  Contact us now to arrange your tour


What The Solar Energy House Looked Like

In January 2004 (Stage 1 of 2)


In a nutshell, we are using the sun to generate electricity.

To see video on how this occurs click here.


We then feed this standard 230VAC electricity throughout the house (as you do in your house) to our appliances.


Bonus With Using A PV Solar Power Station: no moving parts, no noise, life-time expectancy of the PV solar electric modules of ~50 years. One-time capital cost. Easy to sell excess generated electricity back to power company for others to use.

Solar Hot Water Diagram - General Principals


1. Solar hotwater panels on roof: Low iron glass with either copper piping or aluminium fin tubing snaking underneath in an insulated box.

2. Controller: Measure temp on roof & in cylinder. If temp hotter in panels, then turn ON pump (3), if colder, turn OFF pump :-)

3. Pump: Move heated water from roof into cylinder where heat is transfered into the colder water inside cylinder.

4. HWC: Big as possible (ours is 3+ times size of standard domestic cylinder. Store the heat for use when it is cloudy...

5. BackUp: We have both a wetback (fireplace) & a boiler (end of 2009) to boost when stored hot water is cold :-(

Come & Touch & See More Than What We Have Shown Here At The Solar Energy House In Meadowbank, Auckland...


Our home is a little more unique than most people's so we have made it available for people to come and visit and learn & ask indepth questions. Click here to contact us about coming to look and see for yourself...


Otherwise, click here to read about the individual suppliers and consultants that helped make this house a reality for us here in Auckland.

As I have had so many requests from BHP, home owners, EECA and other interested parties in the background on using the PV modules as the ACTUAL roof I have now uploaded information and photos Kristina and I took when we where in Japan last back in 1999. Canon in joint venture with UniSolar (company created by the creator of the nickel-metal hydride battery - Ovionics). Click here to view.

When Kristina and Simon Cope moved to Meadowbank in  2007 we sold our first PV solar array + all associated equipment at the same price we purchased it for, and then purchased this more 'advanced system' for the same $$!  (Over the last 13 years these systems have generated ~$15,600 worth of ‘free’ electricity for Simon and Kristina Cope)… Based on rough calculations they are ½ way there with paying off their system (ignoring interest).