Meet our head of product: Gareth Williams

Climate change is a crisis Gareth Williams wants to shine some light on - sunlight to be exact.
 
He joined solarZero as technology chief six years ago because he believes solar power has a key part to play in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Today, he heads a team of passionate engineers as Chief Product Officer and looks after the development of the solarZero product and accessories.

Shaking up the power supply

About 20 per cent of New Zealand’s main electricity supply still comes from carbon dioxide-producing thermal sources, gas and coal, while geothermal power plants also release carbon dioxide, says Gareth.
 
More than four billion kilograms of carbon dioxide are emitted from electricity in New Zealand each year.

Our current means of providing electricity for New Zealand is not sustainable. I’m concerned about climate change because I’ve got children and grandchildren, so I feel a responsibility to make decisions today that create a sustainable planet for future generations.
 
We have to find smarter ways to create electricity – and a rooftop solar power system is an obvious answer. solarZero makes it easy for people to access solar power. We offer solar-as-a-service which allows homeowners to install solar panels and batteries on their home for $0 upfront.

Most households will be able to supply up to two-thirds of their electricity from the solarZero system and smart battery.
 
People can ensure their electricity use produces zero carbon dioxide emissions by getting power top-ups from the grid through Ecotricity, a fellow Toitū carbonzero certified electricity supplier.
 
On average, households using the service reduce their carbon dioxide emission by 15 tonnes, while saving about $18,000 on electricity over 20 years, says Gareth, whose own home has been on solar power for 13 years.
 
He hopes having more homes using solar people will help save New Zealand’s natural environment from the destruction caused by building new power plants.

When more people use solar power, it means we can avoid having to build more power lines, having more power pylons scarring the countryside… it means no more valleys being flooded to build hydroelectric plants.

The company offers the solarZero service to homes across most of the country. Solar panels can be installed on any roof that gets a reasonable amount of sunshine.
 
solarZero, which launched in 1999, is carbon neutral and has been Toitū carbonzero certified since 2010.
 
The Auckland office is solarZero powered and the company chooses environmentally friendly suppliers, tries to reduce the number of flights staff take by using online communication platforms, uses vegetable inks for printing, and provides trees for planting days.

This blog has been updated from an interview Gareth did with Rose Davis from Forest and Bird talking about the importance of solarZero in the fight against climate change.