Australian news, and some related international items

Western Australia’s phenomenal uptake of solar energy

map-WA-solarWestern Australia Solar Uptake – From 1 To 130,000 26 Dec 13 The growth of residential solar power in Western Australia in the area serviced by Synergy has been nothing short of phenomenal. According to The West Australian’s Daniel Mercer, in March 2009 just one Synergy solar household customer was registered in the state’s Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme. By November, that had grown to 130,000 households participating in the scheme – around 13 percent of Synergy’s entire customer base. According to national solar provider Energy Matters, a 5kW residential solar power system installed in Perth can return a financial benefit of between $1,600 and  $2,100 annually. The success of solar in Western Australia is great news for the technology’s supporters; but not so good for Synergy. Declining residential demand for mains-grid supplied energy due to solar panel system uptake, increasing appliance efficiency and in response to electricity price increases is causing the utility some financial grief. Continual and substantial electricity price increases in recent years in the state have been quite a shock to Western Australians; exacerbated by the fact that prior to 2009, prices for residential customers had not increased since 1997/98 (excluding GST). Small business in the state had not seen rates increase since 1991/92 (excluding GST). Back in 2010, then Federal Minister for Energy Martin Ferguson warned delays to that point in necessary electricity price rises would be “coming home to roost” – and that they did; not just in Western Australia, but nationally. It has been this massive catch-up to pay for gold-plating of electricity infrastructure that has been in part responsible for solar’s rapid ascent. Another problem facing many utilities in terms of solar has been their initial inability to grasp just how popular the technology would become. When this was realised, further valuable time and resources have been wasted in trying to stop the solar revolution when it should have been embraced and innovation undertaken to benefit from the change in status quo.

December 26, 2013 - Posted by | solar, Western Australia

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