Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s solar rooftop hotspot – South Australia

South Australian households and businesses are installing solar panels as rising electricity prices and blackouts take their toll Gailberger, The Advertiser, 26 Apr 17

SOLAR uptake has reached new records across the nation, as South Australian households and businesses put in solar installations at almost double the rate of last year.

Solar analysts say the industry has experienced one of its strongest quarters, driven by increased knowledge, high electricity prices, and fear the Federal Government will cut incentives in the future.There is now six gigawatts of solar power installed across Australia — enough to meet the needs of 1.3 million average households — figures released today by the Australian Photovoltaic Institute show.“Solar power now makes up 11 per cent of our country’s total electricity generation capacity,” Australian Photovoltaic Institute chair Dr Renate Egan said.

South Australia has the highest penetration among dwellings at 32 per cent, with Aberfoyle Park identified as the state’s “solar rooftop hotspot”. More than 22,618 new solar installations have been made in SA as of April — 7000 more than the same time last year.

SunWiz managing director Warwick Johnston said small-scale residential and commercial solar installations will continue to grow because of an increased awareness of renewable energy.

“Particularly in SA given the context of all the blackouts that happened … people are moving towards being independent of the grid.”

He expects another 800MW will be installed across Australia this year, and said a boost from solar farm projects will equate to another gigawatt added to the grid.

“Electricity prices are going up and that always gets people moving towards solar,” Mr Johnston said.

Nationally, an “anti-renewable sentiment” from the Federal Government “always puts fear in people that the incentives or subsidies might be removed”.

“We don’t believe that’s the case but it always galvanises a bit of action,” he said.

Suntrix — a solar PV supply and installation company in Newton — founder Jenny Paradiso said they had noticed a massive increase compared to 2016.

“The main reason we sell solar … is it’s of financial benefit,” she said.

“They are looking to save money on their electricity bills and solar is a proven way for them to do that.”

Ms Paradiso said following the blackouts, inquiries about battery storage had also increased.

But the people currently buying storage were businesses wanting a backup power in case there’s more outages.

“There are a lot of doctors surgeries and manufacturing facilities who are looking at battery storage because they will lose money if their power goes out,” she said.

“The technology is getting better and cheaper every day but it’s still not quite there … for it to be an economic benefit for the average punter.”

Adelaide resident Paquita Nicholls, 87, likes to be “green” and received a free battery for her solar system from the council in 2015.

She had rejected solar panels in the past due to the cost but said the battery was enough of an incentive to invest $14,500 to cover the roof of her two-storey townhouse in solar.

“It’s a great resale value-add,” she said.

“I love technology and I think the battery is so sensible. It’s probably taken about $1000 a year off my bills.”

She said there should be more incentives to encourage people because having a battery meant you could take advantage of power generated by the sun during the day even if you were not home.

April 28, 2017 - Posted by | solar, South Australia

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