Tag Archives: Solar

  • Energy Storage A Big Factor For Solar Households

    Energy Storage a Big Factor for Solar Households

    In yet another interesting twist to the solar story, it has been suggested that the falling cost of solar and battery storage means that the average Australian household could find it cost-competitive to go off-grid by 2018.

    Feedback from solar installers suggests that between 15 -20% of current solar customers are enquiring about storage, with an estimate that installation of battery storage systems in Australian homes could reach around 1,000 a year by the end of 2014.

    One of the reasons cited is the decision by regulators to assign a low “value” of solar exports, forcing homeowners to look at how to “self-consume” their solar output rather than export it back to the grid. Recent decisions by network operators such as Ergon Energy and Energex to place restrictions on rooftop solar systems exporting back into the grid will do the same, and battery storage is an obvious option.

    Australia currently has around 3.4GW of solar PV on household rooftops (and some businesses), but this is expected to rise six-fold out to 2030 as households invest another $30 billion in solar systems.

    With the CSIRO noting that half of domestic demand could be met by solar and storage on-site, this move towards ‘going off-grid’ is causing a great deal of debate, with some arguing that battery storage at the household level is likely to be most cost effective if the household remains connected to the grid, and simply uses the grid when storage is insufficient.

    Ergon Energy says it is inevitable that households will turn to storage, mainly because it is cheaper than the unsubsidised delivery of centralised power. It will also save the network operator money because it won’t have to build so many poles and wires.

    In response, numerous companies are poised to roll out home energy storage solutions in coming months.


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  • The Low Down on Feed-in Tariffs

    It’s difficult to keep up with the news on feed-in tariffs – they seem to change every month and in many states have been replaced by contributions from electricity retailers. But with a bit of background knowledge, and shopping around for electricity providers, you can maximise the incentives you receive for going solar.

    What is a feed-in tariff?

    It’s an amount paid by the government for electricity fed back into the grid to encourage installation of renewable energy generators such as rooftop solar panels and wind turbines.

    Every state has a different system and there is no national scheme. Most state governments have closed their feed-in tariff schemes and these have been replaced by electricity retailer contributions as a payment for each unit of electricity being fed back into the grid. 

    How can I check tariffs and retailer contributions for my state?

    As these change frequently, you can refer to the ‘Solar feed-in tariffs’ page on our website that is updated regularly.

    For Victorians, it’s important to note that a transitional feed-in tariff (TFiT) scheme was brought in on January 1, 2012. Although stated to run for 5 years, it was introduced with a 75MW cap – which we believe is very close to being reached. As such, the TFiT is currently under review, and changes could be announced any day now. Therefore we encourage anyone in Victoria who is looking to go solar to consider acting quickly to take advantage of the current 25c transitional feed-in tariff.

    How can I make the most of feed-in tariffs and retailer contributions?

    Shopping around electricity providers is essential as some retailers offer better rates for certain household conditions. The best thing to do is to get to know your usage patterns and then you can compare the best deals.

    There are two main scenarios when working out how best to maximise tariffs:

    1. When the tariff/contribution is greater than your current electricity rate:

    In this scenario you want to use most of your power at night. Using appliances in off-peak times can save you money. Using washing machines, dishwashers and even pool pumps at night or early morning can make a difference.

    2. When the tariff/contribution is less than your current electricity rate:

    This situation works best when you use as much power as possible during the day. So the reverse of the above – do washing and run appliances during daytime and conserve energy such as air-conditioning and heating, at night.

    Hopefully we have shed some light on this ever-changing topic. You can also talk to one of our team if you have any further questions – contact us on 1300 BE SOLAR.

    Solar Feed-in Tariffs

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