9 Out of Ten Australian Households are Considering Solar

This post looks at claims that 9 out of 10 Australian households are considering going solar and the implications this has for the upcoming state elections.  It also touches on some related issues such as the power industries attempts to block solar.

The  Qld LNP is going out of its way to vilify rooftop solar owners and make it harder for others to install and take advantage of rooftop solar.  Probably not a smart tactic when most voters either have, or are considering rooftop solar.  Even less smart is Campbell Newman’s linking his anti rooftop solar  campaign to his proposal to use the proceeds of his asset sales (sorry very long term leasing) to buy votes by using some of the money to reduce power costs by a similar amount to those he promised and didn’t deliver at the last election.  (These were sales being justified by claims of a debt crisis.)
On the subject of Conservatives, An interesting comment from Christopher Nagle on the above article highlights the way that “Conservatives” like the LNP have morphed into radical, “Tea Party” neocons leaving the Greens as the real conservatives on a range of topics:

I think the notion of ‘conservative’ has become ideological gobbledygook. It can mean so many things. I mean one can be a conservative in the status quo sense, but be running a very disruptively radical agenda, which is what the neo-con oligarchs are doing. They are more like revolutionary apparatchiks running a golden gulag called the consumer society, that gobbles everything in its path; software, hardware, bioware…everything.

On the face of it, one would think environmentalism ought to be a conservative cause celebre; you know, conserving.

The fact that the left took up with environmentalism because the class struggle was going nowhere and it was and is an excellent stick to beat capitalism with, is a quirk of 1970s history. There is no discernible logical connection between the left, homosexual rights, social justice, world peace and environmentalism. None!

If one thinks consequentially to the sixth generation of one’s successors when designing policy, that is conservative. Sustainability in all things is the most conservative idea I can think of. Living within your environmental means is as conservative as it gets. Living and investing as if we can keep borrowing ecological resources ad infinitum, as if tomorrow will never come, is extremist-radical-fruitcake–pathological-nutso-lemmingism!

So, conservative….What are we talking about here?”

The comment reflects what some of us have been saying about attacking the LNP from the conservative side rather than the progressive side.  Particularly important in LNP held electorates.

In addition, you might be interested in the things the electricity industry is using to try and block solar and the smart things that some solar owners are doing to beat the utilities attempts to rip them off.  What is happening is a distortion of the industry that is not in the public interest.  (It doesn’t really make sense, from the public viewpoint, for solar owners to be diverting power generated in high demand times of the day to off-peak power applications.
The risk for the power companies is that their credibility is being undermined by some of their self serving rules.  It may come back to bite them when there really is a wolf out there.

12 thoughts on “9 Out of Ten Australian Households are Considering Solar”

  1. As it should be, and the greed of the grid operators will guarantee that nine out of ten households will install Solar. I believe, as reported to me by another business person with an interest in reducing power consumption for his business customers, the energy distributors are shifting their billing system to include electricity at their buying rate and charge the distribution costs and their profit as a fixed connection cost.

    This is what he is saying but I have not seen the evidence of it. This, supposedly, is the response of the energy distributors to the reducing domestic consumption from rooftop solar, as the story goes. Should this be the case then installing solar will be of limited value as such consumers will be paying bills as large as they were before for a product that they do not use other than during low solar periods. So as we have seen every underhanded trick in the book so far attempting to destroy climate change action initiatives, I am inclined to believe that they are stupid enough to try this on. Time will tell.

  2. OK, I should have read the article because this move has been covered to some degree. The issue is what to do about it. If you look on the web there are a number of meters that one can buy to install in their system to cover these problems. There is a very good one out of Tasmania. My business partner was developing such a system before we merged our interests and his meter both single and three phase would have been available for around the $300 mark. He abandoned the project as there appeared to be too many players in the market. So look around. If there are a lot of people being slugged $5000 for metering then we will be back in there in a flash, most of the work has been done. His meter was designed to give time of day monitoring with a 3 month storage (if I recall properly) with the data being available via wifi.

    Whatever hiccups solar is facing in Australia, the effect will be momentary. There are activated technologists all over the world ready to step in to solve any and every problem. Apart from that the real driver, Global Warming with subsequent Climate Change, has not gone away regardless what our idiot prime minister chooses to think, and will ultimately blame Maurice Newman for when he chooses to think otherwise. Yes he is that devious, but the question is are Australian’s that gullible and forgetful?

  3. Hopefully salvation is on the horizon. Long-lasting and reasonably priced batteries will free many homes from the grid. That would be the Utilities worst nightmare come true.
    Having lived off-grid now for 12 years on a 3,500 watt system I am quite certain that a 5,000 watt system with storage is very adequate, even if you have a pool.

    For commercial applications, on-site diesel will become viable at some point, given the daily charge of ~$550 per day. That’s about $200.000 per annum. Again, supplement this with large scale solar and you really can think about being off-grid in the middle of town.

  4. The off grid parcel that I have spec’d for myself Geof Henderson is a 4.5kw solar pv/thermal system with 16 kwhs battery and a 2.2 kw lpg powered generator, and with gas for cooking. If you have not encountered them the pv/thermal panels are an integrated device that generates electricity from the pv side while the rear has a thermal collector (4.5kw equivalent capacity) to channel the heat absorbed by the solar panel to thermal storage ie water heater or swimming pool. In the future the thermal side will also power absorptive air conditioning, when these units become available at a reasonable cost.

    As you are aware but for others the aim is to utilise as much of the energy during the collection period. Cooking I believe is best done with gas as that is a pulse energy demand that would require excessive inverter and battery capacity to cope with. So by arranging all clothes and dish washing, pool pumping, freezer charging, and thermal ballast tank charging, to be performed during the day, the battery load can be managed to be minimal for refrigerator, lighting (LED lights), entertainment computers and air circulation fans, leaving the deeper battery capacity for PEV charging when they become more readily available. Water heating is performed from the thermal side of the panels and surplus can be used for heating thermal ballast for night time space heating via water circulation.

    Twenty years from now a house will not be considered to be complete without these systems as standard, and the real estate value will reflect that. Another prediction is that twenty years from now salary packages will include either free charging of EV’s or free provision of factory roof solar panels for the same function (think about the tax implications there).

    1. BilB thanks for some really insightful comment. Clearly the homeowner will need to be quite savvy about options available at the time he/she is in the market.
      I have not caught up with pv/thermal panels. If you would be good enough to post a link I would be grateful.

      Sadly your comments expose the abysmal lack of forward thinking of all our political leaders and the appreciation of the citizens best interests being served as a political drive.

      I will repeat my comment to a friend this week – “For the first time in my life (I’m 67) I have no idea who I should vote for. Nobody seems to be directly concerned with the best interests of me (John Citizen) or my grandchildren or beyond”. I’m not alone, witness the election of Palmer and his sorry lot.
      There you go, I did not want to go political, but politics are too deeply embedded in our landscape to ignore. We seem to need permission to allow good policy to prevail.

  5. Geoff: You are right, the problem with renewable energy is that there is neither clear commitment or a clear plan. It is a problem that goes well beyond climate action.
    In terms of rooftop I doubt that the best approach is to go for solar on 90% of roofs even if we end up with battery storage being used in most of these houses. We need a mix of technologies spread over a mix of locations if we are going to have a good system at minimum cost. We also need enough storage and backup. (Solar towers with molten salt storage and back-up salt heating look like a logical part of the mix at this stage.
    At 71 I am an active member of the Greens because I think the Greens are pulling in the directions that is needed over a range of issues. Directions we need to go if my grandchildren are going to have a good life. Afraid I would find it very hard to support the LNP Tea Party because I think it is pulling in the wrong direction, not just on environmental issues.

  6. I’m not trying to make any party political messages here Geoff, but have you considered voting Green, and if not what would be the reasons? Just interested as I think they would support the kinds of things you are interested in.

  7. Val and John thanks for your comments.
    I think Val, my difficulty is in the area of trust. I have lost faith or if you like, trust that the political machine is working for us. The LNP is blindly supportive of business as the Labor party is supportive of a Union foundation. Their respective efforts are directed to maintaining their supportive associations with those interests rather than the common good. That is puting it kindly. The Greens were doing OK with me until their alliance with Labor. For me, that ruled them out as an option to Chip’s famous “keeping the bastards honest”.

    I suppose, that at least the Greens are still somewhat ductile when compared to the major parties who are so deeply poxed that even a Second Coming would be an insufficient signal to change.
    Therein is the dilemma, not just for me but for so many of us who abandoned the Greens at the last election because they aligned with that major party.

    I will possibly support Green, and hopefully not just as a default position after eschewing LNP and Labor. But I would like to see them act as an alternative party and place themselves beyond the door-stop media grabs on the current (or today’s) issue. A party worthy of trust, not just another player in the political scrum.

  8. Geoff: Most of us in the Greens movement would have been amazed and disgusted if the Greens had supported an Abbott government instead of Gillard. (About 85% of Greens preferences go to the ALP ahead of the LNP.)
    I think that given what has happened in the last few years it is important that the Greens state who they will support if there is a hung parliament before an election instead of saying that they will negotiate.

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