Queensland businesses turn to solar to offset soaring bills

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The move by businesses in Queensland to adopt rooftop solar appears to be accelerating, with 156 businesses in the south-east corner of the state installing rooftop systems in the past six months.

According to Energex, which operates the distribution network around Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, some 7MW of rooftop solar was installed by those business in recent months. Many have chosen not to export any of the output back to the grid, meaning they are using the entire output to reduce their demand from the grid.

Indeed, both Energex and Ergon are encouraging businesses to do just that, by making it easy for companies to gain approval for solar installations if there are limiters to exports. The distributors argue that it saves extra costs to the grid.

Queensland households are also continuing their rush to rooftop solar, with another 2,000 to 2,500 households adding on systems, which are growing in size. They now average 4.5kW, well ahead of the long term average of 3.7kW. Another 10.5MW was added in December.

In all, some 277,280 homes in south-east Queensland have rooftop solar. That makes a total of 916MW, of which one quarter was installed since the premium tariff was scrapped. Around 195,000 homes still get that tariff, but nearly 80,000 homes do not receive that tariff.

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  • Shtoney

    “Many have chosen not to export any of the output back to the grid”

    Ergon and Energex require exporting systems to have expensive additional protection (on top of the non-exporting protection) and/or possible network upgrades for the solar proponent to pay. So they have “chosen” to go non-exporting because the other option is too expensive. Easy choice to make.

  • Rob G

    It’s difficult to see what business wouldn’t benefit from solar. What we are seeing is the realisation of that truth in both residential and business. This truth is taking sometime to reach the brains trust in Canberra.

  • Engineer Malcolm

    Energex and Ergon thought they were being smart by limiting export back into the grid. Death spiral guys. Death spiral.

  • Alen T

    “Energex and Ergon are encouraging businesses to do just that”, I was under the impression that the hike in the fixed charge component of the bill (reading the meter as you put it) was designed so as to discourage businesses from installing PV or upgrading to energy efficient devices?

    Also, I thought some might be interested, I was at a demand management event in December at Griffith Uni, and there was discussion about testing smart grid design in the northern suburb of Brisbane. Considering the high uptake of residential PV here, the demand for this suburban smart grid could quickly become very high.