Thursday, October 11, 2012

Australia warms to solar energy

More than 10 per cent of Australian homes now have solar panels. Photo: Justin McManus

Australian roofs now have a solar power generating capacity equivalent to half the Snowy Hydro scheme as consumers react to soaring power prices and sinking prices for photovoltaic (PV) panels.

Some 858,000 homes have solar PV panels with an installed capacity of just under 2 gigawatts, according to the latest data from the Australian Clean Energy Regulator (ACER). At the current rate of take-up, the millionth home will tap into solar power before the end of June next year, said Professor Ray Wills, chief adviser to the Sustainable Energy Association (SEA), an industry lobby group.

We have an 8 panel solar generator on our roof that can produce up to 1.8 kilowatts/hour of solar electricity. We have 'first use' of this power for our household demands and anything we do not use is fed into the local grid and we are paid a modest fee for each kilowatt of power we pump into the grid. Last quarter we received a $58AUS rebate on our electricity bill.

Rows of solar panels face skywards at the Greenough River Solar project near the town of Walkaway, about 350 km (217 miles) north of Perth October 10, 2012. 

Australia switched on its first utility-scale solar farm on Wednesday, bringing the country a small step closer to achieving ambitious renewable energy use targets that traditional coal and gas power producers are now fighting to soften. 


Gill - That British Woman said...

we have looked into this but it was not worth the initial investment. If we had installed them 20 years prior if would have paid for itself, not now though.

Gill in Canada

Jim said...

Good for Australia! Now I wish Canada would embrace it in a serious way too. We are so dependent on fossil fuels here and it generates so much money for the oil companies. A very strong and vocal lobby group here in North America to keep us hooked on oil!
all the best Jhn.

JohnD said...

The federal government led the push to domestic solar energy as part of its 'Greening Australia' program and for quite a while the purchase of those systems was subsidised and the returns on power back to the grid were substantial. We got in towards the end and saved considerably on our installation.

The Global Financial Crisis ended the scheme however our government may reconsider re-introducing the scheme down the track. Its a 'natural' clean energy source for Australian homes and the prophesised 'brown-outs' this summer (mostly the result of the boom in domestic air conditioning) will no doubt be a 'driver' for its re-introduction.

The Elephant's Child said...

It is something I very much want. However, there are two of us in the house, both decision makers. It may be a while yet.