Homeowners Take Control With Solar While Government Delays Action on Energy Policy

Solar Trust Centre Team
Solar Trust Centre Team
December 10, 2018

Homeowners around Australia are installing solar at a much higher rate than ever before while the Government debates energy policy, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Buying Solar Instead of Paying Higher Power Bills

While the Government attempts to get big energy companies to lower prices for Australian consumers, homeowners are not seeing action and are taking matters into their own hands by installing solar.

Renate Egan of the Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI) describes the Government’s actions as “delay tactics”. No action is being taken to reduce power bills for homeowners, so their response is to look to solar power and battery storage.

While the investment might seem large at first, solar panels can pay for themselves after about 5 years on average and battery systems can pay for themselves after about 10 years on average. This will vary based on the value and size of the system.

A report by APVI and the University of NSW (UNSW) found rooftop solar installations has increased in the past year by a huge amount. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, solar is now producing as much electricity as the output from the Liddell coal-fired power station.

There is Potential for More Solar in Australia, But…

The report from APVI and UNSW also found that each state has a much larger potential for rooftop solar. They took into account space on existing homes and apartment buildings and calculated how many more solar panels could be installed. The potential is massive.

For example, NSW has a potential for 13GWp PV capacity when taking into account roof space on houses and apartments that don’t already have solar. The state currently only has under 2 GWp capacity.

So, what if everyone decided to install solar?

We mentioned in a recent article that more solar is a great thing for the energy landscape in Australia, however, this could cause potential issues.

The issue lies with the excess energy that households and businesses sell back to the grid. While more people are installing solar because of Government inaction to reduce electricity bills, this isn’t necessarily good news for the energy grid that needs to transport and store excess energy.

The question we have to ask while more and more homeowners install solar is this: is Australia generating more energy than can be used? The answer is: not yet, but we should be thinking about it.

We may one day reach a point where the energy grid will not be able to handle the capacity with its current infrastructure. Energy experts are worried that the increase in energy generated by solar will be wasted. It’s possible we will reach this point in the early 2020s.

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