Mercury Solar - FAQS
With solar panels customers can turn sunlight into electricity. This electricity can be used in their home, stored in a battery or exported back to the grid. This export can then be purchased by retailers like Mercury. This is known as distributed generation, import/export, Buy-Back or embedded generation.
For an idea of the costs of a full solar installation in Auckland, see our solar packages.
Importing and Exporting Power
The cost of having an import/export meter installed and to have the ability to export electricity back to the grid is currently $99, $300 or $747.50 (dependent on meter size) incl. GST.
You must have written approval from your lines company, to be able to export power from your property onto their network. You can find your lines company contact details here
Any power exported will currently be bought off you at a rate of 8 cents per unit. (Subject to change). (Excluding GST and discounts). Mercury Solar customers on the Vector network will get a rate of 12 cents per unit and Counties Network customers will receive a rate of 10.89 cents per unit.
Available nationwide, with the exception of two networks; Network Waitaki & The Lines Company.
The Buy-Back rates will be applied from when the Buy-Back meter is installed. We are unable to calculate the Buy-Back prior to the meter being installed.
Mercury is required to apply GST to its taxable supplies, in your case this is the electricity Mercury has supplied to you. The electricity that you have generated is considered for tax purposes to be a supply from you to Mercury. GST can only be applied to the value of this if it is a taxable supply under the Goods and Service Tax Act 1985. In most cases this will only be applicable if the supplier is GST registered, and the property and equipment used to generate the electricity are business assets. If you feel this applies to your situation we suggest details be passed on for further review.
Other information you might find useful:
If you are in a contract with Mercury, once your import/export meter is installed your contract will end, and no termination fees will be charged.
If you have any more questions feel free to contact us on 0800 10 18 10, our Call Centre is open Monday to Friday from 8am until 8pm, or email us anytime at Solar@Mercury.co.nz
and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
This is a meter with two registers, one to record the import usage from the network and one to record the export usage to the network. These are also known as Buy-Back or 2-way meters.
In order for us to record your usage and output, you’ll need to install an import export meter.
You will need to get the network company’s approval before doing this.
Once you have received the network's approval we can install the meter and then you can arrange to have the panels installed. To get the meter installed you will need to email our connections team along with the attached meter installation application and lines company approval to ConnCentre@mercury.co.nz.
You will not receive any credit for any generation as we will be unable to calculate this. There may also be an impact on your usage.
Yes, but Mercury will read the meter manually and the readings will not be available on your GEM account.
Your current smart meter is not configured to record the export usage.
If the system is capable of generating excess power to the grid then you must have a Buy-Back meter installed. This is industry regulation.
GEM for Solar - Solar Usage Monitor
GEM for Solar helps you monitor your Mercury Solar system and provides insights into how much energy you’re generating, consuming and exporting. It also shows you estimated savings you’ve made since having a solar system installed, how much you’ve earned from exporting power and what you’ve spent on importing power from the grid.
By installing and using GEM for Solar you can see exactly how your solar energy system is performing in near real time (live 30 second data).
The GEM for Solar monitor connects easily to your solar energy system through your electricity distribution board. GEM for Solar will organise one of our specially trained installers to come to you.
Once installed, the GEM for Solar monitor uses patented algorithms in combination with a number of benchmarks including live local weather data and manufacturer specifics on your solar energy system’s model and location. This information is then fed into your personalised Dashboard which you can access 24/7 from your computer, tablet or smart phone.
As part of your Mercury Solar 3 year contract we will include GEM for Solar. This will be installed by a trained electrician.
The GEM for Solar monitor is compatible with all solar energy systems and inverters, whatever their age.
The GEM for Solar tool (as part of Solar Analytics monitoring service) is an advanced analytics based system that is only offered by Mercury Solar.
Our patented algorithms measure against a number of benchmarks, including your local weather data which many other monitoring systems fail to account for.
We welcome your feedback. You can contact us with your comment or suggestions for improvement by calling 0800 MSOLAR or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Unfortunately you will lose access to the GEM for Solar tool if you leave Mercury as it is only available as part of the Mercury Solar offering.
Solar production data must be transmitted from the monitor to GEM for Solar; this is done via the mobile 3G connection. If a ‘Communications fault’ occurs, it means the monitor cannot transmit your production data so cannot be displayed on your GEM for Solar dashboard. The monitor continues to collect data for two weeks, but it cannot be displayed in your dashboard until the problem is fixed.
The communications fault can usually be rectified by restarting the Wi-Fi or 3G connection. Sometimes it is necessary to reconfigure the monitor.
Once communication is re-established, the missing data will be transmitted and displayed on your GEM for Solar dashboard.
In the event of a Communications fault, GEM for Solar will notify you via email and the dashboard to advise you of the recommended course of action to resolve the fault.
Wi-Fi, 3G or other communications fault.
GEM for Solar monitor incorrect wiring
The GEM for Solar monitor has been connected incorrectly.
Incorrect site configuration
The site configuration (number of inverters, panels, tilt, orientation etc) has been entered incorrectly in the GEM for Solar registration process.
Incorrect CT connection
The CT, which is connected to the GEM for Solar monitor and measures the energy produced by the system, has been clipped onto the wrong cable or clipped incorrectly.
The solar PV system is shaded by trees or roof obstructions resulting in lower than expected performance.
Low insulation resistance
The insulation in the solar PV system has decreased due to water ingress or there is leakage of current from the solar panels through an incorrect path. Also known as low riso
If the solar panels in the system have different performance profiles the whole electrically connected row of solar panels will have the current of the lowest performing panel in the system. This can lead to hotspot.
the current or voltage produced by the inverter is not consistent across various phases (segments) of the system.
Power factor issues
The current and voltage produced by the inverter are not consistent with one another.
The cable connections in the system have lost contact due to a damaged or loose connection.
The plugs connecting one solar panel to another have disconnected or failed.
An electrically connected group of solar panels has been disconnected due to cable disconnection or a tripped or blown fuse, switch or circuit breaker.
String fuse issue
One or more of the fuses on electrically connected groups of solar panels is faulty or has been turned off, disconnecting a number of solar panels.
DC isolator issue
One or more of the DC switches in the solar array is faulty or has been turned off, disconnecting a number of solar panels.
The power produced by the solar PV array is too high for the inverter, so the inverter cannot use all of the power and some is lost as heat.
The voltage produced by the solar PV system was too high for the inverter, resulting in inverter shutdown.
The current from the solar panels has taken an incorrect path due to a system defect. This resulted in inverter shutdown. Also known as ground fault, isolation fault.
AC disconnect open
The switch between the inverter and the electricity grid has been turned off, disconnecting the inverter from the electricity grid.
DC disconnect open
The switch between the solar panels and the inverter has been turned off, disconnecting the solar panels from the inverter.
The electrical grid that the solar PV system is connected to has shut down, shutting down the inverter.
the inverter housing has been opened, resulting in inverter shutdown.
The inverter was operating above the rated operational temperature, resulting in inverter shutdown.
The inverter was operating below the rated operational temperature, resulting in inverter shutdown.
Frequency above limit
The frequency of the electrical grid that the system is connected to was too high, resulting in inverter shutdown or export limitation.
Frequency under limit
The frequency of the electrical grid that the system is connected to was too low, resulting in inverter shutdown or export limitation.
The voltage of the electrical grid that the system is connected to was too high, resulting in inverter shutdown or export limitation.
The voltage of the electrical grid that the system is connected to was too low, resulting in inverter shutdown or export limitation.
Blown String fuse on inverter input
The current flowing from the solar PV system to the inverter was too high, therefore the fuse on the inverter has blown. Inverter memory or communication error There has been an internal memory or communication error in the inverter.
The inverter has aged and its performance has gradually declined due to vibrations in the core, degradation of electrical components or using the inverter above its rated limits.
The inverter has failed due to electrical component wear and tear, high temperatures or overuse.
MPPT tracking error
The inverter is not operating at the correct specifications and therefore it is not converting the maximum amount of energy from the solar panels into usable electricity.
Dirt, dust and sand have built up on the top surface of the solar panel.
The top glass surface of the solar panel has cracked due to heat, wind, hail, vandalism or handling.
The solar panel has obtained very small cracks due to heat, wind or handling. These can be invisible.
Potential Induced Degradation. An unwanted electric field has built up between the solar panel and its metal frame due to heat and humidity, resulting in gradual performance decline.
A large amount of heat has collected in a small area resulting in a burnt or damaged spot on the solar panel. This is mostly due to cracks on the solar panel or shade.
The encapsulating layer between the solar panel and the top glass surface has discoloured due to UV radiation and other factors.
The encapsulating layer between the solar panel and the top glass surface has corroded due to UV radiation and other factors.
The encapsulating layer between the solar panel and the top glass surface has become detached due to water ingress in high humidity conditions.
Deformation and loose frames
The solar panel has deformed or its metal frame has loosened due to handling damage.
Bypass diode failure
One of the electrical components of a solar panel (the bypass diode) has failed due to heat, lightning or other factors.
All solar panels gradually degrade due to water corrosion, natural degradation of metals, and harsh sunlight.
Module open circuits
Electrical connections within the solar panel have lost their necessary contact due to cracks or deformation from hail, heat or other forces.
Module short circuits
Metals within the solar panel have come into contact and are conducting electricity incorrectly, due to weathering, cracking or electrical corrosion.
Junction box defect
The small black box on the back of the solar panel which houses electrical components has been damaged due to heat, lightning or water vapour.
No. Our standard solar rates will apply from when the new meter is installed. If you are on a contract a break fee will not be charged.
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