Alinta Energy has revealed plans to take on Western Australia’s state government-owned monopoly electricity provider Synergy by selling solar panels to WA households.
In an interview with The West Australian, Alinta CEO Jeff Dimery said the gentailer would start offering solar panels in the state from January 2016, following a TV and print marketing campaign that was to begin Monday.
The offer, called “solar this summer”, will give Alinta customers the option to buy or lease PV systems ranging from 1kW to 5kW at a price of around $5000 for a 3kW system.
Dimery said Alinta would also provide battery storage devices, but expected only people with a “green bent” would invest in the technology at this stage.
Alinta’s decision to enter the WA retail solar market follows recent comments from energy minister Mike Nahan that rooftop solar could account for all of the state’s daytime demand within a decade.
On Monday, however, Nahan delivered a damming critique of the regulators in his state, claiming that the “ban” on battery storage and electric vehicles for WA households was a case of “red tape gone mad.”
As The West Australian reports, laws also prohibit gas retailers such as Alinta from selling electricity directly to WA households, while Synergy is banned from retailing domestic gas to those same customers.
Alinta’s move into to the state’s solar market aims to circumvent these laws, eating into Synergy’s sales of grid power.
Alinta, which supplies gas to more than 600,000 homes in WA, is in a prime position to offer solar PV, according to Dimery.
“We would be the first real large energy player to come to market with a safe, reliable, quality and affordable and renewable product,” he said.
“We’re here for the long haul — we’re not going to turn up in a white van and disappear when the product is not doing what it’s supposed to do.”