Consumers are sick of Coalition’s coal fantasy: They are going solar

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Malcolm Turnbull may have done more for renewable energy than he is given credit for. The political and policy deadlock is creating unprecedented demand for rooftop solar, destroying the business model for coal faster than the Coalition can think of ways to prop it up.

share
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull may have done more for renewable energy in Australia than he is given credit for.

Turnbull’s refusal to tackle the climate deniers and the fossil fuel ideologues within his own Coalition government has helped spark the biggest rush to rooftop solar the world has seen, and a powerful economic force that will quickly unravel the business model of so-called baseload coal.

Since Turnbull came into power in late 2015 – after unseating Tony Abbott, but not his predecessor’s climate and energy policies – the rate of uptake of rooftop solar in Australia has more than doubled.

It is now running at record levels of around 120MW a month, with 18,000 new installations on households and businesses around the country in March, and a total of 55,000 installations, and a record 351MW of capacity installed on rooftops in the first three months of the year.

Photo courtesy Springers Solar

The boom is occurring around the country, which now has 6.8GW of rooftop solar (systems under 100kW) and a total of 1.85 million different homes and businesses.

At this rate, it will exceed even the most optimistic official forecasts of more than 21GW of rooftop solar by 2035, and will likely be closer to forecasts such as Bloomberg new Energy Finance, which sees 33GW by 2040, when it will provide 25 per cent of total demand.

Eddie Springer, the project manager at the family-owned Springers Solar in Brisbane, says the rush to solar is mostly economics, and partly driven by politics.

“The more the media talk about the pushback on renewables, the more people want it,” he tells RenewEconomy. “The more it is in the media, whether good, bad or indifferent, it’s all good publicity, because the economics stack up.”

Springer says a recent installation at a Brisbane furniture warehouse will deliver a three year payback, and even accountancy firms are getting in on the act.

“If you can sell solar to an accountant, you can sell it to anyone. They (the accountants) are starting to spread the word, tell their clients, and we are getting referrals from them.”

The shift should not be surprising. The political deadlock and the lack of any clear policy division has contributed to a huge surge in electricity prices since the Coalition scrapped the carbon price.

Households can comfortably get a four-to-six year payback, and they are looking to take a leaf out of Turnbull’s playbook and put as much solar as they can on the roof, with an eye to the future (storage and electric vehicles), and because it makes financial sense.

Even a top quality system translates into a cost of no more than 10c/kWh, while most consumers are paying close to 40c/kWh for their power, depending on the scale of fixed network charges and their level of consumption. So the purchase makes sense even when it is exporting most of the capacity to the grid.

The consequences are clear: the rapid and accelerating uptake of rooftop solar by Australian households and business will accelerate the very transition that the coal boosters and ideologues are trying to stop.

And that transition is the shift to distributed generation, where rooftop solar, battery storage, the ability to share energy and operate demand management becomes the dominant part of the energy system.

This shift to distributed generation has been a feature of recent landmark studies, such as those by the CSIRO and network owners, and by chief scientist Alan Finkel. It is now a major theme among even the conservative energy institutions that run Australia’s grid, and set the rules and regulate it.

The Australian Energy Market Operator, for instance, says that by 2050, up to 45 per cent of all demand in Australia will be served by distributed generation – primarily rooftop solar and battery storage but also demand response. Networks owners and generators agree. BNEF sees that level by 2040.

This is not a market in which coal-fired generation, new or old, can prosper. Not only is coal fired generation dirty and increasingly expensive, it is hopelessly inflexible.

“These changes in the load profile result in an economic and operating challenge for continuous baseload,” AEMO notes in a recent report, adding that what is needed to accommodate this transition is highly flexible capacity, and new rules to encourage it.

The fact that the coal boosters are scoring a massive own goal should not be surprising.

Their push for new coal generation, or even extending the life of existing coal generators, is based on a stunning mix of lies, ignorance and ideology.

There is a refusal to accept the basic economics of renewables versus fossil fuels, and an inability to comprehend how this can be integrated into the system and ultimately deliver a smarter, cleaner and cheaper grid.

And of course, climate change and other environmental impacts are completely ignored. It is what what Ian Dunlop, the former chair of the Australian Coal Association, laments as “pigheaded arrogance and failure of imagination.”

Consumers, large and small, now know better – whether it be the new owners of the Whyalla steelworks, the biggest telco company in the country, the biggest brewer, or owners of zinc refiners, massive greenhouses, or smaller manufacturing facilities.

Still, the right wing rails against battery storage, against demand management, and even electric vehicles, even as AEMO’s own conclusions suggest a smarter, faster and cheaper grid, if the rules can be adapted.

It’s somewhat ironic that households are taking a leaf out of Turnbull’s own playbook. Systems are getting larger – they now average 7kW, and the 10kW to 20kW sector is the fastest growing in the country, and these are going on households, farms and small businesses.

According to Warwick Johnston from SunWiz, around one in eight new solar systems were accompanied by battery storage in 2017, and one in six will add battery storage in 2018.

A total of 33,000 battery storage systems are expected in 2018, but this number will surge in coming years as costs fall, an inevitable result of the support being shown for large scale rollouts of storage and virtual power plants.

Turnbull has installed 14kW of rooftop solar on his Point Piper home and also has about 14kWh of battery storage, masterminded by his son. Many households are going a similar route, not just because the economics are clear, but ahead of new technologies such as storage and electric vehicles.

Were does this rush to rooftop solar leave us? With a highly distributed grid and less room for inflexible coal plants. The business model for coal is being destroyed faster than the Coalition and the fossil fuel industry can think of ways to prop it up.

And the public has lost faith – in the politics, and its stench of ideology and vested interests, and they are rapidly losing faith in big corporations, represented in this industry by the big utilities, and their overpowering greed.

The biggest risk is highlighted by the network owners themselves. If the market does not adapt, and embrace renewables and change the rules to allow for this smarter, faster, cleaner technology, and deliver the cost reductions it promises, then the current trend of load defection will translate into grid defection.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

299 Comments
  1. Roger Franklin 2 years ago

    Thanks Big Mal for making the decision to install solar and batteries an economic decision based on the facts and not emotions. Understand some of your team prefer to dismiss the facts and stick to the fear strategy. Good Luck with that!

  2. Dee Vee 2 years ago

    Consumers are installing solar because renewables have pushed up the prices to ridiculous, eye watering, highest in the world, levels, not because of anything whatsoever to do with coal. If the coal generators had been allowed to compete with no subsidies and no gold plating and power was still cheap, no one would be installing solar panels.

    As it is their solar panels will barely pay for themselves over their 20 odd year lifespan.

    • Jason 2 years ago

      Links or it’s not true.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        It’s not true without links.
        His figures must be very old, if indeed they were ever real.

        • Joe 2 years ago

          …’Fantasy’ figures from ‘Fantasy Man’ Dee Vee

      • palmz 2 years ago

        no it’s true if you never turn it on it will never pay for its self never lone in under 20 years 😉

        or you can put a tarp over the panels?

    • Ken Fabian 2 years ago

      The ongoing amnesty on climate costs enjoyed by fossil fuels is the biggest energy subsidy of all. The LNP’s refusal to accept the science on climate distorts every assessment of the relatives costs and relative benefits of our energy choices. BTW, my home’s solar will pay for itself – batteries and all – in about 8 years. Less than that if electricity prices rise.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        Not to mention the cost to the community of illness directly caused by coal dust and mercury pollution.
        Mine turns a profit afterm 44 months!

        • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

          Can’t beat that with a stick.

    • Mark 2 years ago

      Is that true or did you read it in The Australian?

    • Jason Van Der Velden 2 years ago

      Wow you are stupid.

    • Peter F 2 years ago

      The gold plating of the network was all to do with increasing power for air-conditioners and inflated forecasts of ever increasing demand. Modern split system air-conditioners use half the power of the old window mounts and efficient lighting and other appliance has resulted in a decline rather than an increase in peak loads. Rooftop solar has further reduced the strain on distribution networks and the peak load losses so overall system cost per customer for the distribution system is falling.
      Oh and by the way, according to Imperial College London solar panels recover their embedded energy about 20 times over in Australia and that is increasing about 2-4% per year
      So one way and another your assertions are completely counter to the facts

      • MrMauricio 2 years ago

        Yep-and the first solar panels made-in California, around 1970 are still generating.Efficiency declines about 10% in 25 years.50 year old inefficient outmoded subsidized Liddell clanks at about 40% of capacity and on last figures at least $80/kwhr while unsubsidized wind and solar are way below that .Fossil fuels are among the most subsidized items in the world-including here.

    • Steve159 2 years ago

      I think you’ll find scheduled large scale renewables are to be installed with an effective LRET value of $0, i.e. no “subsidy” (putting aside the LRET is not a subsidy, but I digress).

      They’re being installed to take advantage of the high cost of power, which is due to the “gold plating” of the grid, and gaming of the system by the gas gentailers.

    • Joe 2 years ago

      Dee Dee, the article is about ‘Coal Fantasy’…you certainly are in ‘Coal FantasyLand’ my man.

    • Peter Campbell 2 years ago

      I think you need to get out more!
      -The coal plants were generally built with tax-payer’s money
      -That zombie idea that solar panels ‘don’t pay for themselves’ has not been true for many decades, if ever.
      -Once PV and wind are built, the ‘fuel’ cost is zero. Even Abbot’s hand-picked Warburton review said that more renewables would push prices down (before then recommending fewer renewables since that is what they were commissioned to say).

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      De Vee, that is so not true.
      Example. 5kW system, no battery. Retrofit.
      Installed October ’17.
      All figures based on present prices and FIT.
      Total cost including interest
      $9431 repaid over 4 years.
      Power bill prior to system,
      $65 per fortnight. Eliminated.
      $6760 saved, assuming no price rises. Ha ha.
      Feed in credits after payment for poles and wires and bought in power
      $40 per fortnight
      $4160 gained
      $6760 + $4160 =$10,920
      *Profit* after 4 years $1489
      Profit thereafter $105 per fortnight. Forever.
      The system pays for itself by 44 months.
      Interest rate 7.99%.

      • Joe 2 years ago

        Well done again, young Hettie

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Nothing like a few actual, live figures to send th trolls back under the bridge.

      • Barri Mundee 2 years ago

        You are more patient and polite than me in responding to trolls. Nothing evidence-based will deter them as they are paid shills, ideologues or plain ignorant. Take you pick.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          My reply was aimed at enlightening ignorance, but also puncturing ideology.
          Structured, lucid explanation without gaps is something I have always been good at and enjoy, besides which it gave me another chance to celebrate my decision to go solar, agains the protests of my adult kids, who couldn’t see the value for me. Pensioners aren’t supposed to buy solar systems, that’s for rich people!
          Well, I got my sums wrong, and it has far exceeded my expectations.
          See Vee came across as convinced his figures were good. They might have been, 35 years ago.

        • Ian 2 years ago

          Nah, Barri, Trolls can be very useful, check out what nice comments followed Dee Vee’s post. Dee Vee may or may not be convinced by other’s counter arguments but some folks reading these might.

    • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

      For starters, the two main causes of rising power prices are grid gold plating (as you mentioned) and high gas prices. Gas prices for gas peaking power (the most expensive type of power) are now four times higher at $8-10/Gj than they were a decade ago because of the LNG export boom of recent years.

      For mains, renewable subsidies such as LGCs enable renewables to bid into the wholesale market at near zero prices. The subsidy is counter-balanced by the reduction in wholesale price, and it also means that these low-wholesale-price renewables are removing high-wholesale-price-setting gas-fired power from the bid stack. Renewables are making wholesale prices cheaper by displacing expensive gas-fired peaking power.

      For dessert, people are installing solar mainly because the price is coming down. Solar is a technology that is very good at economies of scale production. The higher the volume of panel production the lower the price becomes, the more demand there is, the higher the volume of panel production, the lower the price, and on and on and on. The price of solar will keep dropping under that cyclical function until the world is saturated with cheap solar power.

      Bon appetit.

      • Ian 2 years ago

        Well done Ren, that’s a Michelin three star comment.

        • rob 2 years ago

          block him like half of this sight have

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          I agree. Good stuff, abd well worth the 6 uptick.
          Rob, pull your head in.

          • rob 2 years ago

            Ouch Hettie!

          • rob 2 years ago

            Actually not ouch…. he has denigrated women and people with mental disorders (including myself) ……. so forget the ouch or pull my head in,,,,,,,,,,,,, I refuse to be treated like that! you got one thing right……He is rude, blasts out comments without thinking or the impact it has on others……. so yes I am happy I blocked him @hettie

          • rob 2 years ago

            Actually not ouch…. he has denigrated women and people with mental disorders (including myself) ……. so forget the ouch or pull my head in,,,,,,,,,,,,, I refuse to be treated like that! you got one thing right……He is rude, blasts out comments without thinking or the impact it has on others……. so yes I am happy I blocked him

    • MaxG 2 years ago

      Coal without a subsidy would have gone out of business a long time ago.
      Unfortunately coal is still being significantly subsidised at the tune of 4b$ of tax payers money per year.

    • Barri Mundee 2 years ago

      Please fxxk off as you have nothing except misinformation to contribute.

  3. Mark Fowler 2 years ago

    In some ways it is wonderful. Every PV installation is another couple of voters who won’t stand for any attempts to penalise them by the powers that be.

    As for you DV can you see the inconsistency in your logic – if not back into your cave.

  4. juxx0r 2 years ago

    If you ask your accountant what the best investment is and they dont say rooftop solar then you need a different accountant. BTW our solar was $4,300 and saves us $450 every two months, That’s a two year payback.

  5. Peter F 2 years ago

    By my calculations rooftop solar installations from when AGL announced the closure of Liddell to the actual close date will be about 7 GW at 15% CF that will be roughly 9,200 GWh per year 125% of Liddell’s annual output

    • Steve159 2 years ago

      does that include current and expected installations of batteries? If not, then it’ll be more than 125% of Liddell (which is not always running at full capacity in any case).

      • Peter F 2 years ago

        That is annual generation, so batteries actually slightly detract from it due to round trip losses. However the battery losses may well be offset by reduced I2R losses on the grid particularly by lowering peak demand.
        However if the Victorian grid batteries are merely replicated in NSW and behind the meter batteries average 50% CAGR that will give you 1,000 MW of storage across the NEM again pretty much replicating Liddell’s reliable capacity.

        Including all the utility wind and solar that is currently expected by 2022 we are likely to replace three times Liddell’s annual generation. My prediction is that by 2022 not only will Liddell be redundant but gas generation across the NEM will fall by about 30-50% and another coal plant will also be on life support

        • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

          I hope we will remember in four years to come back and see how accurate your prediction turns out to be.

    • Ian 2 years ago

      Don’t forget the Liverpool range wind farm going up in NSW 1000MW.

      Solar’s the frontal attack wedging renewables into coal’s baseload profitability. Wind is the left and right flank manoeuvres mopping up any straggling raison d’être that coal might have.

  6. Cooma Doug 2 years ago

    Ok Giles.
    I agree with every word in this write and it lines up in every practical aspect of my experience and research of late.

    • Rod 2 years ago

      It will be very interesting to watch what FiTs and supply charges do from here on out. They might have to start bribing folks to stay on grid.
      The increased efficiency of modern doo dads is amazing. My newish fridge uses less than 269kWh per year, my TV 40W, phones instead of PCs save 200W, heat pumps for AC and water can be load shifted easily.
      Exciting times indeed Malcolm.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        The benefit of staying on grid is threefold, at least for me.
        1. No matter how long a period of heavy overcast lasts – a month or more around June here in recent years, the grid provides power.
        2. No grid, no FIT.
        3. A decent battery costs ?
        $10,000? Which I don’t have.
        That’s about 19.5 YEARS of standing charge. Pretty much my life expectancy.
        Ignoring interest rates and price hikes.

        There can be little doubt that domestic pv is of value to the NEM, and if PHES becomes as big as it should, all that middle of the day output can be put to very good use pushing water uphill. Well, releasing locally generated power to do it.
        The aging population and the tendency towards working from home means that increasing numbers of homes have people in them during the day. Using computers, the Internet, or pursuing hobbies like my woodworking neighbour whose lathe and other power tools are going a great deal of the time. So a good bit of domestic solar is soaked up that way, and by delayed start dishwashers and washing machines, all sorts of ways.
        Surely the retailers are not silly enough to penalise domestic pv? To drive customers away?
        Or are they.?

        • Rod 2 years ago

          “Or are they.?”
          That is the 64 billion dollar question. If they keep raising supply charges and reducing FiTs the economics will favour going off grid for frugal households. And storage will eventually come down.
          I agree, better for all if people stay on grid but most people vote with their wallet.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Leaving ever decreasing numbers of the truly impoverished, renters and those with no suitable site for panels, to pick up the tab .
            And yet, even the impoverished homeowner can put up panels now and be better off from the first FIT credit, from my experience.

          • Rod 2 years ago

            Yes, that is the problem. Can the last one on the grid please pay for it.
            Renters have options like Suntenants or even offering a bit more rent if the landlord installs PV. And as you have proven it makes sense for anyone in their own home even with finance.
            The SA Labor plan to put PV on social housing was a lost opportunity.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Mind you, the land was bought for its orientation. The house designed and materials selected for the climate, the roof pitch advised by the president of the solar installers’ ass’n, a local and friend, the garden planted to assist climate control, the trees selected for height to avoid overshadowing the roof, the floor slab thickness adjusted to maximise thermal mass where the winter sun strikes it, all that came first, and ensures very low energy demand in a cold winter area.
            So my energy extravagance is having the whole house run on tank water, which must be pumped. Even there, having an oversized pressure tank on the pump reduces energy use, but an evening shower puts a spike in my power use readout, showing that the pump is a significant energy guzzler. I’m sure it costs me more than town water would. But I keep the town water for the garden, and enjoy my rainwater showers.
            The thing is, the 5kW solar system pays for 75% of the loan repayments *and* completely eliminates the power bill.
            In an uninsulated, drafty weather board house with timber floors, the living areas on the south side and 3 mm glass in the windows, I don’t think a 10kw system would do that.

          • rob 2 years ago

            Hettie you need help with more solar? me happy to pay interest free!

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Rob, you haven’t been reading my posts tonight. The system is making money for me already. I’m paying far less now for power plus system than for just power. But that’s a kind thought, and I do appreciate it.

          • Rod 2 years ago

            We are exactly opposite. We bought 35 odd years ago. Awful orientation with EW glass. Over the years we have insulated the ceiling, blow in the walls, veranda on the West, grape vine and heavy curtain for the East glass, cheap sun room and bay window on the North. Roller shutters on the West glass. eTherm insulation under the roof. The result is 4kWh/day average usage for most of the year.
            Affordable efficiency changes are possible even for renters. Of course, nothing like premium feed in tariffs to encourage low energy use.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            So pleased for you that you have turned your sow’s ear into a silk purse. There must have been some uncomfortable early years.

          • nakedChimp 2 years ago

            What pump if I may ask?
            We got a Grundfoss here with a pressure switch that runs every time one opens a faucet..
            https://au.grundfos.com/products/find-product/CM_Booster.html

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Its a Davey. But the regular pressure tanks kick in after 4 litres have been drawn. Mine has enough air pressure to take 60 litres before the pump starts.
            Your saying “faucet,” not “tap” indicates that you are from the US or Canada, so the pumps you have available may not be the same as those in Australia.
            Even in urban Australia getting a bigger pressure tank might be an issue.
            Your tank may have a completely different operating system from mine. Ask your retailer.

          • RobertO 2 years ago

            Hi Hettie, All these tanks have pressure switches that can be adjusted, one trick is to buy a pressues control valve with low pressure stting so you can set the pump to kick in at a pressure above the flow setting so that you do not notice that the pump is working or not working. I think you said you use Tank water over Town water, it should be the other way round as Town water is still relative cheaper at 2.04 per kilo litre.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Cheaper, and nasty. And I probably use more water on the garden than in the house.

          • Rod 2 years ago

            Yep, I have a Davey with rainbank and the damn thing came on every time a tap was turned. I put an energy meter on it and discovered it cost me more to pump than buy mains water. The pumped failed and I don’t think I will even bother getting it checked out.
            I understand you can buy pressure tanks with bladders but the bladders need regular replacing so more expense. Water is too cheap.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Mine has been going for six and a half years with no problems. I haven’t even had to put more air in it.
            It is completely protected from the sun, tucked in between the tank and house, South of both.
            The bigger tank, meaning fewer starts and stops, obviously extends the life of the pump. The ones I had on the farm gave no trouble in 13 years, despite having standard 4 litre kick in. Again, not in direct sun. You may have a dud, or it may have dirt in the works. Get it serviced, and get a big pressure tank fitted.
            It may cost a little more than town water, but it is far nicer to use.

          • Rod 2 years ago

            Due to my layout I had to have the tank about 50M from the house and a head of about 2M. I think the pump just has too much work to do. It may be it just needs priming. I still use the water for the garden and we have a dedicated tank for drinking water. Maybe if water is ever priced as it should be rather than mostly supply and sewer charges, I’ll look at sorting the pump out.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Ah. I see.

          • Farmer Dave 2 years ago

            The bigger the pressure tank the better. I got the biggest the local shop had and coupled it with a so-called constant pressure pump and it has worked fine for 9 years or so. A few years ago there was a story in ReNew about a person in the NW of WA who had an off-grid house and used a lot of power to pump water. He found the very largest bladder tank he could – had to import it from the US – and when installed it meant that his pump ran only twice each day on average.

          • mick 2 years ago

            might be a clagged impeller

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            O Robert, I live in regional Aus, in a small city that is the heart of a vast agricultural area. I have an excelent working relationship with the local pumps and irrigation specialist, who has been advising me since I set up a permaculture market garden 20 years ago, and needed a bore, tanks, pumps, reticulation, the whole catastrophe.
            Eventually it got too much for me, so I sold up, moved into town, designed and owner project managed this house.
            When I want advice on pumps, I know who to ask.

          • nakedChimp 2 years ago

            Hehe, sorry, I just used the first word for ‘Wasserhahn’ that came to my mind (German living in Oz).

            We had a pump with a pressure reservoir like you describe before we got the current one, the first problem was the needed special valve at it’s top for the air – we replaced it with a normal bicycle valve which was too long and punctured the bladder inside 🙁

            Replacing the bladder with a new one also didn’t last long as it broke down some time later, which enabled the pressurized air to contact the water directly.
            And running this without a bladder – I had to re-pump the air every other week as it got soluble in the water under pressure (like sparkling water).
            But yeah, it was nice as long as it lasted as not every opening of the tap caused the pump to run 🙂

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Sounds like a real pain.
            New pump?

          • nakedChimp 2 years ago

            As I wrote earlier, the pressure switched one works fine atmo.
            Was just wondering what you had as you were mentioning it, maybe something had slipped me by and once this one is up for replacement I could test something new to me 🙂

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            It’s nearly 7 years since I bought a pump. I would recommend that you see if Choice has done any reviews, and find a local pump/irrigation specialist. Talk to the boss, and if s/he inspires confidence and is prepared to discuss the merits of different types and brands, starts by asking you what you want it to do (don’t volunteer that info. Just say you are looking for a water pump), be guided by the expert. Even hang back in the shop and watch how customers are treated. Grubby old farmers who call the staff by name and are called by name in return are a good guide. They won’t keep dealing with anyone who tries to scam them. Wherever you live, head for farmland because that’s where the experts will be.
            Good hunting.

          • Joe 2 years ago

            Hettie, you should be ‘Australia’s Chief Urban Planner’ !

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            I sometimes think so.

          • Ian 2 years ago

            Hettie, how do you get paid out for the credit you generate in your electricity account?

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            It is peculiar to Powershop. Don’t know about other retailers.
            With PS, you get a phone app to buy power on special offers or at various rates, whenever you choose to do so. Before solar, I paid by direct deposit, so they have a/c details. I use the online special rate that gives 18% discount on base rates.
            FIT is credited to my account on the 10th of each month. I then use some of that credit to buy my power for the coming month or more. At present I’m paid up to mid June, but still have $100 credit in the account. Any time there is $100 or more in credit, I can ask PS to put it in my bank account. I will do that next week, to help pay for the air con that’s being installed May 4.
            Just a phone call to lovely people in NZ, at local call rate.

          • Ian 2 years ago

            Thank you for your reply.

          • Rod 2 years ago

            I’m with AGL and they pay a credit into my bank account every quarter.
            There will be a feed in tariff amount on your bill and if it exceeds in dollars more than you spend (plus daily charge, less discounts) they pay the credit if you want or it can roll over until the next bill.
            Other retailers may do it differently.

          • Phil NSW 2 years ago

            Hi Hettie
            I didn’t realise we may have a lot in common. I have 80 kL of rainwater storage which is no longer enough (25 fruit trees and a pool). I pump all the water bar a very small portion I can gravity feed whilst the tanks are still full. I have 5.6 kW installation and run a pool pump. Over summer I broke even. I generally consume about 12 kWh/d of which I buy 3-4 but hot summer days see that jump to 30 kWh.
            Anyhow I digress.
            We all know coal has had its day. We know if Malcom Turnbull remains on the fence his LNP will be consigned to history along with the NEG.
            I wonder, is it possible all this foolishness is actually a clandestine way of the people covering the government’s butt in stumping up for large scale generation capacity and has been for over a decade?

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Nah. Much simpler. We are voting with our wallets and will continue to do so on polling day. Which may be sooner than we thought. Coalition Pollies are gathering in Canberra despite no sitting. Meeting on Monday when the 30th news poll comes out?
            Strictly speaking, as the earliest practical date for an election is August 4 or it stuffs up the Senate requirements, and polling day can be no more than 68 days from the date the parliament is dissolved, and that takes us to May 28, MT can’t run to PC and get a general election before the party sacks him.
            BUT, would PC say, no. Or say ok, to hell with the Senate, or say, ok , election August 4 and give notice that parliament is to be dissolved May 28?
            So MT stays PM until he has called the election, gives the finger to the party, and slopes off to Point Piper smirking in malice.
            We shall see.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            I thought I’d replied, but clearly not so.
            Nah. They are not that clever.
            Mine is suburban block, 640 squ m. 13.5kl water. No pool no lawn drip line irrigation to whole garden of trees, shrubs, roses climbers and perennials. Food garden with 1 nectarine, 1 apricot, 1 lemon , 1 cumquat, 1 blueberry, 8 asparagus, 3 raised veg beds giving 6 rotation modules.
            Now that I have switched the food garden irrigation to town water the tank should never run out.

        • Ian 2 years ago

          Hettie, you do raise some interesting attitudes towards the grid. Its a big battery. You put your excess electricity into it and then when you need it again, you draw it out. You’ve done some gut-feel calculations as to which is cheaper, and which will give you the longest standby storage. Behind the meter battery is too expensive and will not give you that ‘once in a hundred years’ reliability, but the grid does, nothing wrong with that choice, it makes the most economic sense.

          Storage needs to be looked at as at least two different things. 1. Daily time shifting and load management to maximise the benefit of home made electricity. 2. Standby for prolonged windless/cloudy days.

          Small battery systems for daily time shifting/ load management / short blackout islanding functions are only just viable cost-wise. But big battery systems for standby functionality are not at all viable.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            All true. Much of what I generate I don’t buy back. Average output since early October has been 28kWh per day. The standing charge takes [email protected] 11.8 c , I use 6 or 7, and buy back around 3. The rest mounts up as credit. With the low income rebate, I am around $90 ahead each month. Janary it was $115 in FIT alone. So I’m laughing.

          • Ian 2 years ago

            Thanks for those figures. If you use 3kWh from the grid then the cost of those, ignoring the fixed charges, would be about 15c (import – export tariff) . 45c a day. About $150 a year. You’d want a battery system of at least a bit more than your average grid usage, say 4kWh, and you would not want to be financially burdened by this for more than 5 years ie the price of a battery system for your situation would have to be $600 or less for 4kWh. The fixed fee you pay is probably around $1.50 per day or $500 a year, but you benefit from the grid exports and low income rebate by$90/month or about $1000 a year. Ie your set up should earn you about $500 a year. All told the grid gets about 20kWh a day, or about 7300kWh a year, from you and pays you 11.8c/kWh or $860 a year for your export. They sell this for about 26c/kWh and can earn $1900 from this ie they are $1000 ahead.

            Your current arrangement would then benefit you by $500 a year and benefit the retailers by $1000 a year and cost the taxpayer a low income benefit of $285 a year

            A last point: the rooftop solar was so effective in NSW in reducing the average wholesale price of electricity that the FiT was reduced from 20c to 11.8c apparently: roughly by 8c a kWh so, getting back to our calculations for the average Hettiestead, the 7300kWh export was worth 7300 x 8c = $584 a year. Look at that! Even the bloody taxpayer gets a 200% return on their investment in you Hettie. Well done!

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            My daily charge is $1.39.99, Inc GST, because of the PS discounts.
            NSW FIT went from 20 c net, ie on the balance of use and export, in 2010 or thereabouts, to the totally unsustainable 60c gross, on 7 year contracts, now phasing out. Then a few years ago that was stopped overnight, and FiT for new solar dropped to 6 c time of use. Use it while you make it, and pay full whack, about 30 – 35 c depending on retailer and how stupid you are, for everything you buy when the sun don’t shine, and get a whole big 6 c for what you export. Not fair!
            Then July 1 last year, prices went up 20%, but FiT went up to range of I think 10.5 to 14 c.
            I get 11.8. Not top, not bottom, but Powershop is the greenest retailer , now gentailer in the country, their prices are good, and they are great to deal with. There’s more to this than money, although that’s important. And if anyone switches to Powershop on my recommendation, we both get a $75 credit. So if you or anyone else here thinks it sounds good, email me.
            [email protected]
            I’ll tell you more then.

      • Cooma Doug 2 years ago

        Back in the 90s I was in Houston Texas working on a job for a market control system in Australia.
        Before returning home I met friends in New York.
        They were researching a refit of the energy systems in the biggest buildings in the city.
        Hard to believe but they reduced consumption 45%.
        Nowdays it is much better as they have the advances you describe.

  7. MrMauricio 2 years ago

    Great piece Giles-very powerful-and along the lines of what futurist Tony Seba is predicting for disruptive technologies!

  8. bedlam bay 2 years ago

    Someone should tell Team Turnbull to enter the 21st century. Rather than the embarrassing bullying of AGL over Liddell Turnbull should lean on all the retailers to wind back the supply charge gouging which has been going on for years.

    • Ian 2 years ago

      That’s it really. The grid is losing relevance precisely because of price gouging. Even in the failed state Zimbabwe, electricity costs US10c/kWh

  9. Steve 1 2 years ago

    The Liddell power station producers 2000 Megawatts of power or 2 Gigawatts. Australia has just installed 350 megawatts of solar energy in the first three months of this year, assuming this rate continues, this would mean that 1400 megawatts of solar power will be installed by years end. The Liddell power plant is scheduled to close in 2022, and assuming the rate of solar installation continues at the same rate, this means that 5.6 Gigawatts will have been installed by 2022 which is 3.6 more Gigawatts than what we are slated to lose when the Liddell power station is closed down. Is this right or am I missing something.

    • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

      Capacity factor. Also the locality of the new solar installs, most of which will probably happen in Qld.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        Why do you say that? New domestic pv in NSW has overtaken Qld, and rising.

        • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

          Fair enough, though NSW still less than a third of total solar installs. So it’s like 5.6GW x CF x 0.33
          Compared to Liddell’s 1680MW (not 2000MW) x CF (which has been 0.5 over this summer)

          • phillyc 2 years ago

            From the graphs the other day. NSW has 1.5GW and Qld has 2.1GW of rooftop solar. NSW is only just starting to install slightly more a month than QLD. QLD will lead installed capacity for a long, long time!

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Perhaps you missed that I said NSW is leading on NEW domestic solar *this year*

        • rob 2 years ago

          Hettie just block the miserable bastard…..He is only here to cause division,anxiety and problems

          • rob 2 years ago

            i so like seeing………”this user is blocked”

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Mmmm no. Can be abrasive, rude even, but more often has reasonable things to say.
            James Grimblebum on the other hand…

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      Sounds good to me. And Liddell is out of actions some of the time, rarely performs at full capacity.
      A question.
      If annualised average daily output of a pv system is about 4 times its rated output – a 5 kW setup gives 20 kW /365, how do you compare 5 MW of solar with a coaler?
      For the sceptics, my 5 kW has produced 35kWh today, and is still giving 205W at 17:15, two weeks past the autumn equinox.

      • Mike Dill 2 years ago

        5MW of a coaler running at 90% of capacity on an annual basis (yes I know this is a artificial situation), will produce 5MW x 24h x 365d x 90% or a theoretical 41,000 MWH of electricity.

        At best 5MW of fixed tilt solar will produce 5x to 6x its rated capacity daily, on an annual basis, or a comparative 5/24= 20% to 26% capacity factor, for 5MW x 24h x 365d x 26% or 11388 MWH of electricity.

        All of that boils down to a result that you need about 4 times the nameplate rating of solar to get the same amount of power that you could (that is again for a best-in-class coal plant) get for a coaler.

        Now, you have the electricity, how do you use it? A coal plant needs you to use the same amount all day and all night. This is baseload capacity. This is actually really good if you are running an aluminum smelter or something else that needs to run all the time. If you are a household, this does not work very well. They might even pay you to turn on your hot water heater in the middle of the night to balance out the load.

        Fortunately, most of us are tied to the grid (this has some good points as well as the bad), so we can give our excess solar to other people and use other sources of electricity beyond the solar on our roof when the sun does not shine (that other 74% of the time).

        If you only have solar, you need to run everything when the sun is shining. You can time shift some of that using storage, but that gets a bit expensive. The cost is coming down pretty fast, and putting in enough to make it through a ‘normal’ night is probably cost-effective for most people currently. More than that might not pay off.

        I did not intend to say anything about costs here, but storage is a costly thing. Being connected to the grid is also a cost. In simple terms some people think of the grid as a big battery, as from a household perspective it can do the same job.

        No matter what happens politically, It looks like in about 5 years, running a household off the grid, with only solar and storage, may be cheaper than staying connected. Some people are doing it now, and it does make sense in some circumstances.

        • solarguy 2 years ago

          Or have solar and batteries and sell excess to the grid for a profit like I do. I could go off grid in an instant if I wanted to, but why would I do that.

          • Mike Dill 2 years ago

            My utility limits me so that I cannot make a profit on my solar output. As long as it is relatively cheap, or profitable as it is in your case, going off grid does not make sense.

          • Greg Hudson 2 years ago

            Change utilities.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            That’s not always possible Greg. Some areas there is only one provider, or the network may be at its limit.

        • RobS 2 years ago

          Liddell was run at a 49% capacity factor in 16-17 and a 47% capacity factor in 15-16 so only needing to replace around 25,000 MWh, you’re being far too generous with coal CF.

      • solarguy 2 years ago

        That’s exceptionally good for a 5kw system. Is it exactly 5 or a bit bigger?

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Not certain. Could be a little more. Inverter often shows output at 5.5 . Max was 5.7.
          Just checked inverter.
          Total since install
          5035.7 kWh
          179 days exactly. It was turned on at 14:00 hrs, now 14:10.
          28.13 average.
          Although June here has been miserable the past 3 years, winter is generally fine and sunny, it’s summer that is rainy.
          24° roof pitch puts winter sun more nearly perpendicular to the panels than in summer, so out put will be limited by day length more than anything else, and at 31°S it is just under 10 hrs in midwinter. I am hopeful that output will stay pretty high.
          Time will tell.
          Just checked the paperwork. 5.3 kW
          20 x Q-cell 265 panels facing 4° W of solar north.
          Fronius primo inverter.
          Any more questions?
          Output yesterday 33.6

          • rob 2 years ago

            fronius primo……….same as mine

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            5.3KW, now that explains yesterdays output. All PV will degrade approx. 0.5%/yr in output, so it will stay up there for years to come before you notice any significant drop in output.

            When a cloud comes over and panels cool down output goes up momentarily, (more than their rated power) when the sun comes out again and that explains 5.5- 5.7

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            A week or so ago, drizzle all day, output 11.4.
            I was pretty pleased.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Yes that’s good, we often make more power than what we use on days like that. In fact on bad rainy days we can make about 9kwh, but sadly sometimes less, it all depends on how dark the sky gets.

            In any case the battery saves us from using the grid.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Or the grid saves us from buying a battery.
            And without the grid connection, there would be no Feed in credits.
            So I’ll stick with what I have.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Ha, I wasn’t insinuating that you get a battery, we all know your finances can’t cope at this stage, but that may change in the future. You will have to be happy with what you have, but none of us will be happy with the reduction of FIT coming in July.

            Happy days!

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Are you certain of that?
            Any details, or is it just chatter?

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            If your referring to FIT, it has been mentioned here on RE in an article this week IPART NSW has recommended a reduction of 5c/kwh, as the wholesale price is supposedly lower now.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Can you remember the title of the article, even part of it? I’ll go hunting, but a clue would be good.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Thanks. I’ll read it as soon as I can.

          • rob 2 years ago

            Hettie did you watch landline yesterday? if not I suggest you watch it on iview,,,,,,,,,most of it was about community power……some near Lismore where I think you are close….. in any case was very interesting!

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Right. 3 c cut recommended, but FIT is voluntary.
            All sorts of possibilities there.
            Let’s wait and see.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Something to do with IPART NSW, I think Sophie wrote it, within the last 10 days.

          • riley222 2 years ago

            Thats a big drop, doesn’t seem realistic in such a short timespan.
            Part of the groupthink that really believes solar owners should pay them for disrupting unrealistic business models.
            After that, apart from trying to penalise solar owners, all that is left is to bung up the grid connection price.
            Talk about incentivising battery uptake and encouraging grid defection.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Well it went from 6 cents to 12.5 cents overnight.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            They really are all over the shop. The industry wants a clear policy.
            Well guess what, guys, so do people who have or are thinking about rooftop solar.
            You justify extortionate prices on the basis of what you *choose* to spend on marketing and overheads and networks and all the other costs that you *do not incur* when buying rooftop solar. We bail you out on hot afternoons when your coal clunkers clunk out.
            Do you not understand that if you keep playing silly buggers with Feed in Tariffs, everyone who can afford to get BIG batteries and leave the grid WILL DO IT. Dropping you in a great big hole .

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Well how could I, hell anyone disagree with that, who has solar.

            Send a letter to Aunty Gladys.I will be and Don Harwin as well.

    • Matt White 2 years ago

      Slight problem with your reasoning, the 350 mw in PV’s is a national stat not one that is local to the power grid in NSW which the coal plant generates power for, so there will most likely be a shortfall once the station goes offline.

      • Mike Dill 2 years ago

        Matt, there might be a local shortfall. The ugly long distance interconnectors are there to bring in the excess from the remainder of the national grid. IF the system works properly the interconnects allow the power across the grid to be balanced.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        That is ignoring two things.

        1. Liddell may be rated at 2,000 MW, but it does not produce anything like that.

        2. AGL is planning to build wind, solar, gas and PHES to more than replace it’s rated output by the time they shut it down.

      • Peter F 2 years ago

        There would probably be a shortfall in NSW if you were only relying on rooftop solar. But there are four or five windfarms under construction now which will provide almost half Liddell’s annual output and on top of that another 1,500 MW or so approved but not financed. If they go ahead wind alone will replace Liddell’s annual output.
        And there are almost 2,000 MW of solar farms in the system. They will produce 70% of Liddell’s output. But solar farms can be built really quickly and there are many more connection applications in the queue so there may be another 2,000 built before Liddell closes.

        Sticking one’s neck out prediction:
        1. Snowy II will not be built although some small Kidston style plants will be
        2. By 2025, SA will be 80% renewable, Tasmania 100%, but keeping their gas plant for droughts, Queensland 45% and NSW and Victoria 55%
        3. Liddell, Yallourn, Mt Piper and Gladstone will all be effectively closed and some kept as what the German’s call cold reserve
        4. New storage whether it is pumped hydro, batteries, solar thermal or grid controlled power to heat/ice will be equivalent to 4 GW/15 GWh
        5. There will be new gas plants built but net new gas will be no more than 500 MW and annual energy from gas generation will fall below 2017 levels
        6. Demand response will be between 2-3 GW
        7. There will be some minor strengthening of NSW/Queensland and NSW/Victoria links but no new Basslink or major interconnectors

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Sounds good.
          Don’t like the gas much, but if it’s kept for emergency I s’pose we do have to gave it.
          Better than diesel.

        • RobertO 2 years ago

          Hi Peter F I have a suspicion that the Tas Gov has sign an agreement that requires so much usage of gas. The local households and industry in general in Tas are not higher enough users so Tas Hydro burn so to keep price low. Given that Tas has pipe line for an environmental risk diesel is shipped in so Gas may be better. On the interconnect I am of the opinion that Battery of the Nation will make Bass Link 2 an absolute requirement. Much more energy shipped north, very little sent south. Interconnects strengthen RE variability (increase reliability so I believe we will see Tas to Vic, SA to NSW, NSW to Vic and Qld to NSW (not part of current ownership as networks need to be written down in value, Separate company ownership).

          • Peter F 2 years ago

            I think you are roughly right about gas in Tasmania, but there may some other higher value industrial use they can find. I doubt that building pumped hydro in Tasmania makes sense compared to building the same capacity closed to the loads on the mainland and saving the transmission costs.
            The concept of RE Zones is quite suspect, NSW can theoretically generate all its power from onsite or near site solar eg, on roof, over car-parks and other hardstands. To minimise local storage, wind, hydro, biomass can all be built along local transmission within 20-200 km of population centres so prediction no 8 is that annual interstate power transmission volumes will actually fall even if peak flows increase.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            I *really hate* the idea of burning biomass for power. Still lots of CO2, lots of fine particle pollution. No mercury, I grant you, but logging waste would be far better composted, possibly in combo with sewage, in large scale high temperature composting farms, that kill off most pathogens very effectively, and used as fertilizer for ochards, vineyards, probably not wise for salad crops, but fine for grains, oilseed, soybeans, anything where the edible part is not in direct contact with the soil. There would be some methane release, but that could be harvested and used for on site power production, reducing it to CO2, and the bulk of the carbon would be returned to the soil, which desperately needs it.

          • Peter F 2 years ago

            Biomass would largely be crop waste and timber thinnings, animal wastes from pig and chicken farms sewer gas etc, not like growing corn for methanol. It can be fed into a digester to make methane which is burned for power and the solid residual is still a good fertiliser

          • RobertO 2 years ago

            Hi Peter F The reason they burn the gas is cause there is no other uses for the gas, and so by using it to generate electricity they lower the price for gas overall. Tasmania has lots of wind potential and it’s relative more constant that other parts of Australia. On Hydro you have gravity dams, that run 24*7 and they are looking at making them peaking hydro running 8- 12 hr per day by increasing the number of generators on the dam (or the size by increasing the turbine size and yes they are considering making some pump hydro, they will be looking at all options and you and I will be told what they’re going to do). I believe that Bass Link 2 will go ahead based on both wind and hydro and I wonder if they will use 800 kV HVDC cables (and there is a possibility that it export only cable, I hope not). One of the statements above in the article is that 45 % of electricity will come from roof top solar. To get to distributed generation there will be a move to get generation moved away from close proximity because most Australia lives near the coast and clouds are water in the atmosphere so the new interconnects will provide a more reliability. Local build will occur but so will the interconnects which also reduces the amount of storage required in both Batteries and PHES. The CH4 network is already built so excess RE can be processed into storage. In the finish you and I will be told what is going to happen and this argument will be a mute discussion.

        • RobertO 2 years ago

          Hi Peter F, I am getting old. I believe that there is currently 15,000 of RE approved in NSW but unable to be connected due to either no network or full network at their respective sites. Snowy 2 is being driven by Paul Broad and Snowy Mountains Corporation under 2 toads direction (MT and I not sure how will any new Fed Gov will stop it given that it will be useful for RE).
          I am hoping that more coal is gone by 2022 (our NEM average could be at 75% RE, and by 2024 the last one could close). Some gas will be build but very few will retire. Bigger interconnects allows for less storage to be built but if new interconnects through RE Zones allow for more RE distributed over larger area. Lots of Solar will be local but too risky if we get slow moving cloud cover near coasts. They are talking 45% from household by 2050 (some are saying 2040 and I think we could do it by 2025).

    • RobS 2 years ago

      The big problem with your reasoning is assuming no growth in install rate, it’s growing at over 40% per year so expect closer to 10Gw of new solar by the time Liddell closes in 2022. The other thing you haven’t factored in is that there is a similar amount of wind generation in the development pipeline so expect to see at least 12 times as much renewable capacity installed that will be lost by the time of Liddell’s closure

      • RobertO 2 years ago

        Hi RobS My friend “mosh fiddleberg” quote on TV indiders (insidious believers that pollies tell the truth) that the AEMO has stated the NSW is going to run the risk of blackouts if they allow Liddell to close. If I understand the quote is correct if NSW does nothing about replacing its generation so as a support of the COALition (Not) I must immediately tell Gladdy to make sure she stops all projects that will damage our chances of having blackouts. And the bit that really hurts is that if it is closed on 1 Jan 2022 it is 3 years and 7 months away and Solar Farms take some 2 year to construct and there are 5 Wind farms under construction and another 5 approved in NSW alone, and if its 30 June 2022 it is 4 years and 2 months away

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Not to mention the almost exponential growth in NSW rooftop solar.

  10. Will Brown 2 years ago

    how come the media is biased towards solar ?
    solar is fairy power , it will never meet demand
    and industry cant survive on fantasy power

    • Chris Fraser 2 years ago

      Solar is excellent value, for a start. They are going smelt steel in Sweden using renewables. That’s good given that for half a year Sweden is not terribly sunny, and probably won’t matter anyway given their hydro resources.

      • Joe 2 years ago

        Don’t the Swedes know that you can’t make the steel from Solar. I mean Australia’s new Chief Scientist, the Abbott, he has told us so. First the Sanjeev and now the Swedes are failing to take Scientist Abbott’s advice about making the steel from solar.

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      Do try to keep up.

      • RobertO 2 years ago

        Hi Hettie There are a couple of spies in the discussions here.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          The trolls are certainly thick on the ground.
          If they’re not careful, they might get their prejudices dented.

          • Joe 2 years ago

            Yep,,,the Dee Dee Vee and Willy are back

    • Barri Mundee 2 years ago

      Yeah keep up the BS and one day someone might be convinced.

    • Rod 2 years ago

      My fairy power is doing just fine thanks. Industry is discovering the same thing.

    • rob 2 years ago

      is your name renstimpy?

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        Rob, stop that, or people will start blocking you.

        • Joe 2 years ago

          Rob could be onto something. Many aliases disguising the one Trolli?

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            True but I don’t think Ren is a troll.

      • nakedChimp 2 years ago

        na, seems to be someone living in Townsville and hoping to make some dough when they (re)open a zinc mine there.

        • RobertO 2 years ago

          Hi nakedcChimp we still need some types of mining and zinc is at this time still needed. Automation is taking over slowly but surely. It the FF mining (mainly Coal and then the Natural Gas that need to slow to a stop AEMO says 2050, others say 2040 and I want 2025 and yes we could do it if we decide we have the will to do it. If we change Fed Gov and the Labour Gov set target to 50% I beleive we will be at 75% by 2022). Man Made CH4 can then be used in the Natural Gas storage system as part of keeping stand by generators available just in case.

          • nakedChimp 2 years ago

            Did I state a different viewpoint anywhere?
            I just commented on Will Brown not being RenStimpy.
            In contrast to Ren, that Will B guy is not very well informed about the economics of energy or RE.

            As for the rest of you post..
            I’m fully aware that we will need to keep mining the earth (and the remainder of the solar system to be exact) if we want to keep evolving.
            I also have no real problem with that, if this is done responsibly and as sustainable (for life as we know it) as possible.
            In the end all that counts is if life (and with it humans) make it into the future. If we survive another 1,000 or 10,000 years the only ones that will care that we still have pines or pandas or corals will be US and no one else.

    • Joe 2 years ago

      ‘Fairy Trolli’ go back down into your Coalpit and don’t come out.

    • Ian 2 years ago

      Solar is fairy power. I like it. Fairy power : light footprint, magic production of electricity out of sun’s rays. You just plonk these on your roof, no moving parts, no mess, no CO2 excretions. You don’t even notice them working tirelessly day after day. You even have the added bonus of roof shading! Fantasy power yeh baby yeh.

  11. Chris Drongers 2 years ago

    To reduce the ‘poor people and renters can’t afford/decide to install solar and get the savings’ argument we can attach the demand side as well as generation;
    from today
    – require all new housing to reach 8 star energy compliance (easy with r4 ceiling insulation and insulated foil under roof, insulated foil or batts in walls and close fitting doors and windows matched with window and door shading, ideally with thermal inertia in floor slabs and internal masonary if present, may require builders to take more care than presently)
    – require all housing to secure enough PV to cover overall energy demand (preference on roof, else developers to PPA with a solar farm)
    – encourage peer-to-peer trading of solar-battery-demand

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      First and most important, all major windows face between 15° E and 10°W of SOLAR north, and northern eaves /verandas must not exclude sun from autumn to spring equinox , nor admit sun between spring an autumn equinox.
      Most places, that means eaves around 600mm.
      Without good orientation, all else is bandaids.
      But the existing housing stock is woeful, and it’s in old woeful housing that many renters and virtually all poor (who have homes at all) live

      • Chris Fraser 2 years ago

        With one small qualification provided by Architects of acquaintance … in warm temperate climates the window shading season should be from October 21 to February 22 …

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Interesting. It’s cool temperate where I am, and September 22 to March 22 exclusion works just fine. In fact, tonight I have a ceiling fan on because I’m a little warm with a sliding glass door open. I’ll close it soon as the temp is dropping. Forecast minimum 7° overnight.
          I wouldn’t want to let the sun in before late March, not with the summers getting so much hotter.
          There is 6 m ×2.1m of (double) glass on the north side of my living area.

          • Chris Fraser 2 years ago

            Yes that’s a lot of window you need to shade it. By the sea there is a slight tempering effect by cool sea breezes on warm weather, which could arguably shorten the shading season.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            I also have pergolas that are now still covered in deciduous vines. The ornamental grapes are in their crimson glory now, but their leaves will be down in a week, as will the wisteria, and the climbing roses. Then the morning sun will come through the eastern glass doors and penetrate 8 m across exposed concrete that will keep the house warm well into the evening. The north side, sun comes in 4 m.
            It works very well.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Sounds like you have it sorted. How old is your house?

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Moved in Dec 22 2011.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            We had a dream of building a passive solar house, but had to settle for second best, it has some passive aspects. Doesn’t matter now as it is solar active and we don’t pay a cent to stay cool or warm.

  12. Steve Mccullock 2 years ago

    Installing solar soon,I don’t care if it costs the same in repayments as offsetting savings in usage. Rather pay a solar installation company than greedy power companies.

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      Good for you!
      Get as many panels as your roof will hold and you can afford, and if you have some west facing roof, panels there will generate later than the north facing ones.
      Wait for battery until the price drops.
      Extra panels will pay for themselves fast.

      • rob 2 years ago

        christ hettie you know way to much! lol……. I’m a good 15 years your junior but can’t keep up with you!

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          That just means I’ve had 15 years more learning time than you. And I’ve been interested in it, especially the design stuff, since age nine.

          • john 2 years ago

            Hettie just remember my first quote was $64 for a 5 kW system so perhaps I kinda have a handle on it.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Wot??? I have no idea what you are on about. And do you mean $64K? Indicating that you have been in the solar business since gods dog was a puppy?

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Hettie stop trying so hard. It won’t all happen because of you!

            And btw tell your friend Rob to stop stalking me. He’s not mentally impaired he’s just angry.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            More personality than mental. And I already have.

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            OK thanks.

          • Alan S 2 years ago

            I remember early adopters (pre rebate and FiT) paying $19,000 for a 1 kW system. Solar House Day visitors marvelled at the spinning disc on the Westinghouse meter turning backward.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            And wouldn’t it be great if the meters went backwards as we export now!
            Even a net feed in, so you pay only for the difference between total grid use and total export, would be a huge boost.

          • Alan S 2 years ago

            We put our 1.5 kW system in when the (overgenerous) incentives came in. I’d have been happy to install a system that just turned the meter backwards, not pay me over 50 c/kWh for exports.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Those schemes were never sustainable. Some people made a lot of money out of them, and the panels are still pumping, but the present draconian system would not have happened if the scheme had been more moderate.

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            It was all about priming the pump to get the industry started, & it worked perfectly. We are one of the fastest adopting nations in the world because of it.

    • nakedChimp 2 years ago

      Make sure your roof stays tight and that the cables/wiring is done so that you can keep it all clean and maintained (leaves/insects/..).
      And if they put up a switch next to the panels.. check on it every year, as that’s usually something that doesn’t age well (seals, plastic).

      • Matthew Cole 2 years ago

        New standards require isolation switches on the roof the b covered to reduce degradation from the sun.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Interesting. Mine is inside the garage next to the inverter. No risk of degradation there.

          • Matthew Cole 2 years ago

            Hi Hettie, unless yours is a very old installation you will have one on the roof as well. I believe the reasoning is to allow isolation whilst on the roof doing work to the roof portion of the system. This rule has been in place long enough for the issue of plastic breaking-down in sunlight to become apparent and requirements change to require protection from the sun. 🙂

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Not old. OCT last year.
            Are those regs state or fed?
            I’m in NSW.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Federal regs!

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Then I must have one on the roof too. Just can’t see it from the ground.

          • nakedChimp 2 years ago

            If the array is in plain sight of the inverter (or better the switch next to the inverter) and not further away than a couple of meters.. I think it was 2 or 3? .. then there doesn’t need to be one on the roof. But this condition is met very seldom.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            I’m puzzled. The regs are to protect workers on the roof from electrocution, right?
            So a kill switch that can be used before they go near the roof would make the most sense.
            There is a 150× 250×100 ish kill switch mounted on my garage wall, 5mm from the inverter. Inside the garage.
            Nobody involved with the istallation has mentioned any switch on the roof let alone one that needs maintenance. I wonder why.
            Oops, I misread you. Thought you said in plain sight of the *array, * not inverter.
            All good.

          • nakedChimp 2 years ago

            Well, yes and no.
            1) As far as I know, Australia is the only country in the world that mandates roof-switches and there were lots of troubles at the start because of those switches, which caused more troubles than it’s actually worth (Failures, arcing, fires..).
            2) The panels are a power source.. if one of the cables or panels up there is broken and delivering x-hundred volts DC by whatever so people can touch it (fire/storm/etc.) the switch is going to do squat.
            3) For isolating the panels from the grid (your run of the mill grid-tie inverter does connect the panels essentially to the grid, they are riding on the 230Vac up there actually) it doesn’t make sense either, as the switch next to the inverter would take care of that.
            And yes, this is happening – they even induce voltages into the roof sheeting (if metal and unless that is connected to ground properly) and it tingles in your fingers/under-arms when you get up there on a ladder attaching yourself to the roof 😉
            I’ve seen installations up here in tropical Queensland that even corrode the metallic wall sheeting due to that effect.. and yes, professionals did those.

          • PLDD 2 years ago

            Isn’t the reason for two switches so that you can double isolate the system….just in case someone flicks the switch downstairs when you are out of sight on the roof….?

          • Wallace 2 years ago

            The outside switch could be locked off.

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            Correct.

          • nakedChimp 2 years ago

            And that would help with what?
            The inverter checks the panels (isolation to Neutral/Earth) before it “connects them to the grid”..
            So there is no danger from anything ‘below’ that could kill you ‘up there’ while out of sight.
            The connectors are touch safe – unless you poke metal bits into them.

            The only thing this setup allows for is to break the circuitry while on the roof and you have forgotten to do it downstairs, while you’re doing something to the connectors/wires, as you shouldn’t disconnect/connect them under load.
            Funnily enough electricians in the field have tags that LOCK RCDs/MCBs/etc. in the OFF postion while they work on circuits, that would kill them if they’d go live.
            And no, I haven’t seen those tag-lock-holes on those switches.. but they’re are standard on any MCB/RCD I came across in the last 10 years.

            Funnily enough – most problems in electrics/electronics is actually connection problems.
            Adding switches to a circuitry for one situation out of convenience increases the odds of failures.

          • DoRightThing 2 years ago

            The absolute key point here is that the *panels* are the source of power and an isolation switch on the ground or the roof only protects the charge controller.
            There should be no risk of power coming up to the panels, as the direction is one way only.
            MC4 connectors are well isolated, but if anyone is worried about getting a shock off the panels then cover them or work at night!

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            “And no, I haven’t seen those tag-lock-holes on those switches.. but they’re are standard on any MCB/RCD I came across in the last 10 years.”
            Indeed. Which would really be a better solution for rooftop solar panels.

          • nakedChimp 2 years ago

            Not just that. Usually the seals are not tight enough and when you get sunshine and rain right after, the rain will cool the switch housing down, which causes that the air inside develops under pressure which sucks water into the housing that sits on the seals.
            Rinse repeat for a couple of months and 1-2 years later the switch will be a murky rusty mess.

            The only counter to this is actually to have the enclosure ventilate to ambient air, which naturally is a problem seaside and/or in tropical humid climates.
            For the tropics the housing would need some sort of heater to reduce the relative humidity of the air inside to keep it from bad rusting.
            For seaside I have no idea what could work.. salt is hygroscopic and aggressive, so sealing it airtight in those cases might be the only solution.

          • Wallace 2 years ago

            How about one of the switches with the moveable parts submerged in oil? They are typically used to avoid arcing but the oil would keep water and salt away from the critical parts.

            Thinking back to my first home solar system about 20 years ago I recall either the panel or battery disconnect switch being oil filled in order to prevent arcing from welding the contacts. I recall a large red box….

          • nakedChimp 2 years ago

            Expensive I guess.
            IMHO, the roof switch is an additional point of failure that achieves nothing and Australia is the only country that has this.

          • Wallace 2 years ago

            Mass produced they shouldn’t be expensive.

            That said, I don’t see the sense in having a roof disconnect switch. The switch should be on the exterior of the building where it can be accessed from the ground.

            If there’s a fire in the attic/ceiling you don’t want firefighters walking on the roof to get to a switch. Anyone on the roof needs to stay on the overhang and not risk a fall through.

            I suppose it might be smart to require cutoffs for solar panels, building electricity, and gas located together so that one firefighter could quickly neutralize the building.

          • PLDD 2 years ago

            I though the regs said you needed both roof and next to the inverter. It’s a fail safe as the technician can isolate the panels in case someone flicks the switch next to the inverter.

          • Wallace 2 years ago

            I don’t know what the regs are. I’m suggesting what might be a better solution than putting a switch on the roof.

            There should be a switch next to the battery charger (often built into the inverter case) but also one for firefighters to stop flow from panels.

            Put that switch were it can be operated from ground level rather than ask someone to risk walking on the roof to trip the switch.

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            The entire point of it is to protect a person working on the roof, so they can ensure their own safety.

          • Wallace 2 years ago

            I fully understand the purpose.

            But the switch could be mounted where weathering would not be a problem and where the panels could be disconnected from the system without someone having to get on the roof.

            Just use a switch with a lock off function if you think there would actually be a problem with someone turing the panels back on while someone was on the roof working.

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            If I were designing such a system, I’d include a loop with a hermetically sealed connector in it, rather than a switch, but either way, the safety device must be under the sole control of the person on the roof.

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            Correct. It needs to be impossible for some nitwit on the ground to flick the switch & zap the poor bugger on the roof who’s working on the panels or whatever.

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            It achieves safety.

          • nakedChimp 2 years ago

            safety from what or of what?

            Being able to disconnect panels while on the roof, so you don’t have to go down again?

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            From being zapped while servicing the panels on the roof, when some idiot turns the wall panel safety switch on again. Note that hundreds of electricians die every year due to this kind of accident.

          • Wallace 2 years ago

            ” hundreds of electricians die every year due to this kind of accident.”

            I want to see the data that confirms that claim.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Yes. Very easy to make such a claim, but if the sparky can lock the downstairs switch off, any electrocution is no accident.

          • nakedChimp 2 years ago

            The last electrician I heard of dying was a trainee, which got electrocuted in the attic, while pulling some new wires without noticing live wires..?!
            So I would love some sources.

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            I’ve found plenty of stat’s online, but none that break them down to that level of granularity. But ask anyone who’s spent a decade or two in industrial electrics, & they’ll be able to tell you horror stories.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Nothing like going to the horse’s mouth. I have just sent a message to the president of the NSW solar installers association, who happens to be the son in law of a close friend, asking for info on sparky deaths on roofs. If anyone knows, he will.

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            I was referring to deaths caused by idiots switching on power while someone was working on an electrical system. These roof switches exist specifically to *prevent* such deaths, so of course there aren’t any.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            No you weren’t, Frank. Read what you wrote.
            YouFrom being zapped while servicing the panels on the roof, when some idiot turns the wall panel safety switch on again. Note that hundreds of electricians die every year due to this kind of accident. specifically said,

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            I said “this kind of accident” genius, not that exact accident. That kind of accident is why lockout switches were invented long before domestic solar panels were common:
            https://cslockout.com/
            And just a tip here; it’s not wise to call people liars when they’re talking about an industry in which you clearly have no professional experience, most especially when it comes to safety issues.

          • Wallace 2 years ago

            Mr. Underboob, here’s your claim –

            “From being zapped while servicing the panels on the roof, when some idiot turns the wall panel safety switch on again. Note that hundreds of electricians die every year due to this kind of accident.”

            People have asked you to support your claim and you have not presented one scintilla of evidence.

            Based on that questioning your veracity seems logical.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            I’m not sure that Mr Underboob would understand what a big word like “veracity” means, or that he would know how to use a dictionary to find out.

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            It’s great that you’re enthusiastic about solar power, but you really are being an arsehole over a topic – electrical safety – that you clearly know very little about. It’s exactly that kind of arrogant ignorance that gets so many contractors electrocuted.

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            Apparently you’re unable to click on any of the links I’ve provided as sources. Sad.

          • Wallace 2 years ago

            I clicked on one of the links that I’ve seen you post in this discussion. It’s a hardware description and says absolutely nothing about “hundreds of electricians die every year due to this kind of accident”.

            I also clicked on the second link I’ve seen you post and it is a general description of a solar system and says absolutely nothing about “hundreds of electricians die every year due to this kind of accident”.

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            Apparently you’re too stupid to read context. Understandable, seeing as you’re one of Hettie’s lapdogs, & aren’t actually interested in the truth.
            The first link is to industrial power switch lockouts, which are sold to prevent electrical workers dying due to idiots powering up the circuit they’re working on, because so many electrical workers are injured or die that way.
            The second shows that your/Hettie’s moronic claim that the downstairs switch renders the rooftop 100% electrically safe is wrong, as the rooftop can generate as much as 1,500VDC – more than enough to kill – despite being disconnected from the inverter system.

          • Wallace 2 years ago

            Frank, I’m smart enough to know that you made a claim that sounds very unlikely to the rest of us. And that you have not been able to present any evidence to support your claim.

            I’m also smart enough to recognize that you aren’t adult enough to simply say, “Sorry, I was apparently wrong.”

            Have a nice day….

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            The President of Solar installers says no benefit, just another source of system failure, and a submission is in to SEIA to change the regs.
            He also says that no sparky has *ever* died from the downstairs switch being changed by an idiot, because the source of current is the roof, not the panels.

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            “because the source of current is the roof, not the panels.”
            WTF is that supposed to mean? Your guy is saying that the panels don’t produce any power? Or is that you being an idiot?
            FTR, rooftop solar arrays output as much as 1,500VDC, directly from the panels: http://www.pveurope.eu/News/Solar-Generator/7-facts-on-power-electronics-for-solar-energy
            Nobody’s gotten killed that way because the safety system works, you numpty.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            I am reporting the advice of the NSW President of the Solar Installers Association, as I clearly stated. So it is Geoff Bragg whom you call a numpty, not me.
            Now, would you like to reconsider?
            Maybe apologise for your rudeness?

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            Is Mr Bragg a qualified electrician? And does he know that you’re quoting him in a comment thread about electrical safety?

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Yes and yes.
            You have not Googled his name, have you?

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            Proof that he’s a qualified electrician?

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            I am reporting the advice of the Secretary of the Clean Energy Council. So it is Geoff Bragg (google his name) whom you call a numpty, not me. 
            Now, would you like to reconsider?
            Maybe apologise for your rudeness?

          • Frank Underboob 2 years ago

            “Maybe apologise for your rudeness?”
            Says the person who’s been insulting me & calling me a liar for no reason for more than a week…
            “So it is Geoff Bragg (google his name) whom you call a numpty, not me.”
            If he starts commenting here with the same idiocy you’ve been spouting, I will, but I have zero reason to believe that he’s actually said any of this rubbish, other that your highly unreliable hearsay.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            That is crap. See my reply to NakedChimp below.

        • nakedChimp 2 years ago

          Yep, that’s why I wrote he should check it regularly himself if he can, as no one else will. 😉

    • john 2 years ago

      If you use a company that does it well you will not be behind the payment situation.

    • Ian 2 years ago

      Do your self a favour and max out your roof with solar panels, the payback times are so ridiculously good that it does not matter if you try ‘optimise’ the size for your consumption or go for maximum. $1.2/W, FiT 11.8c/kWh, interest 8%, import tariff 26c/kWh, average yield 5kWh/kW/day

      For a 5KW system, all elec exported : interest repayments $480/annum earnings $1077./annum. Of course you would be using some of this electricity: if you used it all money saved in elect bills $2300 . Your usage profile would fall somewhere between the two.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        You’re using my figures, Ian!
        Go for it.

  13. RobertO 2 years ago

    Hi All, Why is the COAL:ition in such a panic. Liddell is 3 years and 7 months away if it closes on 1 Jan 2022, or 4 years and 2 months away if it closes on 30 June 2022. We sit about 5 % – 10% RE How many Wind Farms will start between now and that date (I know of 5 that are under construction and anothers that have approvals). Then there is commerical Solar Farms under construction that total what amount? Then you have small business and finally households and how many will have storage attached to any of the above ie Sapphire Wind Farm is looking at both so Solar and Battery.

    Our total is more that enough to replace Liddell so why the panic (what am I missing?)

    Maybe it just that coal is dying!

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      Don’t forget, O Robert, that the mining industry, especially coal, is where Coalition pollies find highly paid jobs when they lose their seats. If coal dies, so do their hopes of moving into some comfy sinecure after Parliament.
      Not to mention huge political donations to help then get re-elected.
      There is also the distinct possibility of well filled brown paper bags while they are still in Canberra.

      • RobertO 2 years ago

        Hi Hettie, I support mining so that option will always be available to our pollies. The mining must be only minerials that benefit mankind, not one that will kill mankind. Even with recycling all possible we will still need more of some minerials. All mining will go automated as it too risky to human life.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Agree on all points.

      • Nick Kemp 2 years ago

        A few Labor pollies head that way too.

    • Ian 2 years ago

      Every coal power station that closes, is one less that contributes to Australia’s energy mix, a dying breed.

      Coal is being phased out , some want this to happen ASAP and others want to reverse this trend. The Coalition want to resist and reverse this trend, but why? It is a huge mystery. The reason most trotted out is that the FF industry has the Coalition in its pocket. Is that the full and complete explanation? Another reason is that the Coalition fervently believe that coal is inextricably tied to grid stability, and cheap, competitive electricity . That coal is good for Australia, that renewables resources are not reliable nor cheap, that anyone who does not see these simple facts is threatening to derail our existence and way of life.

      Are the Coalition cynical or are they zealous? Do they talk the Coal talk for the money or do they really believe in the primacy of coal ?

      • RobertO 2 years ago

        Hi Ian, I am a person whom wants Coal gone (ASPA but practicable retirement). We are currently about 5% – 10% RE and we need storage when we get to 50%. I was talking to an elderly sparky yesterday and he’s so pro reliability of power that we have to have only coal. He a “What if the Sun Don’t shine or the Wind Don’t blow person (and he on the board that have been frustrating me in trying to move to RE). The accountant finally over ruled him and we are starting RE (should be installed end of next week)

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Good to hear. Ask your sparky how many days since the big bang when it was dead calm and raining over the whole of Aus. Even in drizzle new panels give power at about 25% of rated output.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        BOTH.

  14. disqus_NUTtnum6kh 2 years ago

    Politicians are proxies for vested interests; they aren’t there to pursue the pathway which optimises the greatest good for all of mankind.

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      That would come close to being the understatement of the year.

  15. Floofzy Kitten 2 years ago

    Solar is expensive to get but over the years it pays itself off. It’s interesting how solar panels, which are a positive long term investment, is the opposite of harmful fossil fuels, which are more costly and environmentally harmful in the long run. Coal will eventually run out and the prices will only continue to rise, meaning rising electricity bills if you don’t switch to solar.

    • Joe 2 years ago

      “Solar is expensive to get…”, ‘expensive’ is a relative thing. Australian’s buy over 1 million new cars every year without blinking. Yet when you ask people who own their homes that don’t have solar why no solar panels, a lot say the ‘expense’….go figure when as you point out home solar pays itself off whilst cars are a money loser EVERY DAY of the year.

      • Rod 2 years ago

        Yes, solar is an expense but a car if an asset!
        Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) has a very simplified take that infuriates accountants.
        An asset is something that makes you money and a liability is something that costs you money. Makes sense to me.

      • solarguy 2 years ago

        I’m laughing so hard Joe, because you are right!

        • Joe 2 years ago

          In the three months, Jan – Mar, this year already 291,500 new cars sold. On track for another 1 million plusser new car sales in 2018! Plenty of loose change lying around for a new car but people baulk at putting on the solar. I have to say that my brother is the perfect example. He shells out nearly 28 grand on a new SUV….but the solar….nah. Just won’t take my advice and he knows from my experience how awesome the solar is.

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      So much mistaken belief in one post.
      Please read the comments on this article.
      Getting solar can cost less than not getting it. It can pay for itself before yoy finish paying for the loan.
      There is no way that we can keep burning coal until it runs out and have a habitable planet.
      Renewables plus storage are already cheaper than coal.
      Now read some more .

      • Anneth 2 years ago

        Hettie and co… just happened upon this thread and very illuminating. Since you are not a solar company but have the long term experience, unbiased advice would help us.
        We’ve just moved onto small acreage in SE Queensland with a renovated Queenslander facing south west getting good unfiltereded sun on roof from morning to mid afternoon. There’s a fair way to go with sorting out the energy saving aspect of this house but we are wanting solar power and can’t buy outright. What’s the cheapest best way to get a decent 5+KW system up and running? Thanks

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Before you decide on the size of your system, ensure you have a smart meter, and ascertain your average daily usage. Make sure that you are with the best available retailer. I beleive Qld has one called “Energy Locals ” or something similar, which is good, and Powershop is great, because you can see on the phone app exactly how much you are using, their prices are good and so is the feed in tarrif. Powershop will probably arrange your smart meter free of charge if you tell them you are going solar.
          Then see your bank. If they won’t add the cost of your system to your mortgage, because the savings will outweigh the additional repayments, change banks, yes, seriously, to a regional bank or credit union that will. I had to get a green loan, 7.99%, because I have a reverse mortgage, and can’t borrow more against the house. Even so, I’m well ahead.
          Look at Choice to find the best panels.
          Google to find suppliers of those panels, or ask Solar solutions to get you 3 quotes.
          Select the one you like best.
          The installers are flat out, and the network takes weeks to approve the application for installation so it will be several weeks before you are up and running, then another few weeks before everyone finishes their paperwork and you start getting your FIT credits.
          Get as many panels as you can afford and your roof will hold. Some facing east, more facing north, some facing west. Don’t get a battery yet. Prices have a long way to fall.

          BUT you may want to insulate the roof first. At least r4 Batts against the ceiling, not up under the roof. No point cooling and heating the roof space, which in a Queenslander is vast. It doesn’t cost a lot, and will make an immediate difference to your comfort. It will also reduce your power bills.
          Good luck.

        • rob 2 years ago

          As Hettie just said..get as many panels as you can afford. Get Finn Peacock from solar quotes to organise 3 good installation quotes……Most installation companies have a relationship with a Finance Provider…..mine is with Classic Finance who specialise is renewable energy and charge approx 9% which you will easily make back plus more in your quarterly electricity bills! cheers rob …And yes Hettie is a fountain of knowledge!

          • Anneth 2 years ago

            Thanks Rob! Appreciate your info 👍

          • rob 2 years ago

            finn advertises on this site so should be easy to find

    • Ian 2 years ago

      Are you from Australia? Concerning the cost of solar wrong on two accounts. Solar is cheap to get and pays for itself very rapidly – 2 or 3 years in fact. Home solar is getting more prevalent, and up to now has had a very beneficial effect in reducing wholesale prices. It’s not the running out of coal you need to worry about it’s the running out of air. Plenty of coal to completely ruin the atmosphere creating the green house effect everyone keeps harping on about. The so called death spiral of the grid where fewer and fewer customers pay for a bigger and bigger percentage of the grid, is not quite true. A large proportion of your electricity bill is actually just the cost of collecting your bill, not the poles’n wires, not the generators, just the boardroom and the accounts office.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        Whatever it is, it should be made part of the per kWh price. Retail shops have overheads too, and they are covered in the price of the goods they sell. If they charged every customer a dollar fifty a day just to walk past the door, they would soon go out of business.
        As with so many things in this country, those who have the least get charged the most. It’s not rocket science to divide the total of standing charge by the total number of kWh sold, and add that to the unit price.
        If that was brought in when settlement periods eventually change to 5 minutes and the price of power drops, the high end users would hardly notice. But the careful , responsible power users certainly would.

    • Craig Allen 2 years ago

      For retirees there is an extra incentive for installing solar that is not much talked about. Savings in their bank count are counted against their pension. More savings, less pension. So people in that situation can spend a chunk on a solar system, save on their electricity bill, and increase their pension!

  16. Sally Noel Triggell 2 years ago

    We have 6.5 kw of solar ( more than our modest needs ) and no storage and at this stage don’t want to leave the grid because we believe the grid is so important to renewables. Imagine if we owned the grid again and it was over cast in one area and sunny in another or the wind was blowing here and not there. The grid would be very use full at times like these, also some people will not be in a position to put on solar and they must not be left in the dark.

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      You have it in a nutshell. And a battery to cover the longest time if very low solar output would be ruinously expensive.

  17. Matthew O'Brien 2 years ago

    ” … push for new coal generation … stunning mix of lies, ignorance and ideology … stench of ideology and vested interests … overpowering greed …” etc etc.

    As with their brethren right winger zeal in applying DETERRENTS to deal with illicit drugs, social security fraud, “illegal” immigration and such – what should be a “part of the conversation” is appropriate reparations, punishments, penalties – reprisals – for those political, community and business leaders who are in fact saboteurs – knowingly vandalising the future of the economy and the environment. Not to mention the already realised opportunity cost of late investment in the renewable technology which will be required.

    These offenders will be the same rent seekers whinging about a need for 457 skills to maintain their renewable energy installations in another 20 years.

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      True.

  18. Major Sceptic 2 years ago

    I think we do need to keep x amount of coal power stations running ,
    While having green options to supply X amount of power are good ,
    you cannot always rely on them .
    Never put all your eggs in one basket .
    As for cost to keep the coal power stations running ,
    some services to the public are necessary whatever the cost !
    We went down the road of privatizing utilities like power years ago because there was some cost !
    Prior to those days when there was a service needed , or work needed to be done too a high standard ……. it just got done.
    If you want to have an example of cost cutting , and cutting of services ,
    Just go for a drive across Melbourne and have a glance at the amount of power poles half pulled over because the linesman don’t have the training to know that when you run cables you must allow some slack in the cables for temperature variation.
    The amount of dodgy work is staggering , and it would not have been tolerated once upon a time.

    • RobertO 2 years ago

      Hi Major Sceptic, Do try to keep up. Science is telling us we need to change our ways and getting rid of coal will happen. Sicence is also telling us we can go without coal (or any Fossel Fuels)
      Solar Energy (wind water or sun is free fuel after you have paid for the installation). These system make electricity so you need to store the energy and there are multiple ways to do that. One storage system that many people argue against is Natural Gas (it’s existing and designed to store energy already and under the right circumstances is economical to use). Can man make CH4 gas, yes, an SA has more then ample CH4 generation to cover and stronger interconnects reduce the storage required. The size of the storage system needed to cover is being built (Snowy2 and others). Lots of people argue that the efficiency is the driving factor of any system (try asking the board of the compary for $10,000 to save the company $20,000 pa and 99.9% of boards will tell “NO!”. Why you ask. Because the return on the money spent next year is $0.00 because its no longer a saving so they will not give it to you. Ask the same board for $10,000 to make and sell a widget that will make the company $5,000 a year (in cash sales) and 99.9% of board will give you the money. Sometime after you start production the GM or the CEO will come and ask you “Can we improve the efficency of production” or something like that. (If something make money for the company they will do it and improving the efficency on something that loses money will never happen as the company will not spend the money in the first place. Our whole system is driven be money, not the efficency of a system.

      • Major Sceptic 2 years ago

        Thank you Roberto , i will try too keep up mate ,
        100% green sounds very nice ,
        But i truly do not think is achievable in real life though ,
        all those electric cables covered with insulation probably had some form of fossil element used in its raw materials or manufacture , the same as the batteries you maybe using to store all that wonderful solar energy you have .
        The keys on your computer you typed this on have plastic which was made with guess what …. lots of fossil stuff ,
        Even your solar panels and charging system have some sort of material that is not really made from green stuff .
        But certainly it is good to strive to pollute less and have less of a footprint on the planet for sure.
        Have a nice day .

        • RobertO 2 years ago

          Major Sceptic, I think you need to check you chemistry. If it made from FF then man is able to make it (Becomes “Man Made Stuff”. I have always said we need mining but only for those elements that we need (even if we recycled everything we would still need new minerals) extracted. I am not saying we should stop coal mining today but we have the knowledge of how we could if we wanted to. We know what we need, how we could and why we should and some of the Monash group believe that we must have a new HELE Coal power station (this article above put Coal gone by 2050 AEMO and some say earlier say 2040 and my preference would be 2025). Man made CH4 can run the gas generators we need for back up (if we want to).

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Also glad you mentioned the biogas!

          • RobertO 2 years ago

            Hi solarguy, we also have the capacity to chemically make CH4 so yes both can be added to the FF pipe lines. Even just excess solar from sunlight making just H2 is not an issue for the FF gas network up to 10%. So it just a progression pathway that we need to decide to choose to go along.

        • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

          Oil and natural gas will probably be used as raw material to make plastics and other synthetic materials after fuel use is over. That’s not a big problem; the real difficulty is using oil and gas as fuels and the pollution (CO2 and other) that it causes. Plastics aren’t desirable because they become solid pollution, but at least they don’t dirty up the air and cause climate change.

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      Why do you think coal is necessary in the long run? Please give your reasons.

      • Major Sceptic 2 years ago

        Hi Hettie , in

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          It is NEVER dead calm and sunless everywhere in Aus. Renewables are geographically widely distributed so they smooth out each other’s down times.
          The old coalers are NOT reliable. 53 sudden failures this year and counting.
          When they fail, they take hundreds of Megawatts out of supply without warning and sometimes take 2 weeks to get back into service.
          The weather is predictable. Cloud and calm can be predicted and allowed for, and do not happen everywhere, ever.
          We CAN and must do without coal, gas *and petrol* or we will cook the planet.

          • Major Sceptic 2 years ago

            I don’t know Hettie , im afraid im not as confident as you are on what climate is going to do , and while i actually believe the climate is changing and has been changing since day dot long before we where here and always will regardless of what we humans do .
            I suspect the claims of humans cooking the planet
            Any time soon are grossly over exaggerated.
            I would be way more worried about one of the many volcanoes that are way overdue for a big eruption as they have in the past , as these among other things can block out the sun for weeks months or even years .
            Then there is magnetic pole shift which is happening and is documented which is effecting the earths magnetic field which protects us from some of the sun’s nasty rays.
            Again let me say in all for being green and having a better human footprint on the earth is a good thing ,
            As long as we do not throw away our back up systems and put all of our eggs in one basket.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            So you know better than 97% of the scientists who have made it their life’s work to gather evidence and study climate change? (The other 3% are all paid by fossil fuel companies).
            Gee you must be clever.
            Or smoking something potent.

          • Major Sceptic 2 years ago

            I think i have tried to have a gentlemanly discussion about these matters , but as you are now resorting to insults we will leave it there .
            Before i go i would suggest you do do a bit more research before blindly following retoric .
            You could look at pole shift , magnetic reversal , nasa ,etc , and many other sites .
            You may find your 97 of cooking earth % is actually a long way off base .
            Have a nice day and good bye..

          • Ian 2 years ago

            You don’t even need to listen to science to get the climate trend…….the Peruvians whose staple food is potatoes have had to migrate to higher altitudes during the past decade because it is now too hot to grow their traditional varieties where they were previously.

    • Ian 2 years ago

      X = zero

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        😂
        Good one.

  19. rob 2 years ago

    @giles……..wow what a storm of comments you have caused! Mostly good I am glad to say! Excellent article! Cheers rob

  20. Dennis 2 years ago

    Yes so after you put solar on the roof and then do not require any coal fired power during the sunny daytime hours
    What you do is drive up the cost of power to make up for lost sales
    And then in the night or during periods of cloudy weather you put your hand out for base load power
    And all the while the irony is that the coal fired plants are still burning coal as they can’t just shut them down

    Stupidity

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      Try reading the comments on this thread. You might learn something.

  21. Alan S 2 years ago

    There’s an interesting article ‘Renewables improving the grid’ in the current issue (142)of the ATA’s Renew magazine. It explains the voltage stabilisation effect of homes with PV and smart inverters on local distribution systems. This can mean the local network doesn’t need an expensive upgrade to maintain voltage standards.

    • solarguy 2 years ago

      I haven’t received my copy yet, I can’t wait.

      • Alan S 2 years ago

        You should have, the next issue’s due now.

        • solarguy 2 years ago

          I take it Alan yours is posted too, when did you receive it?

          • Alan S 2 years ago

            Yes, posted. Issue 142 is for the Jan-March 2018 period and headed Solar For All with articles about PV and energy efficiency in rental properties..

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Great Alan, but when did you receive it? Sorry meant to ask about latest issue 143, have you got that one yet?

          • Alan S 2 years ago

            No, not 143 yet although it’s due. They usually arrive a couple of weeks before the relevant period. Now I’ve said that it will probably come in the next post. Can’t be Aust Post’s fault surely?

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            At times I have had to give them a call because it had not turned up, they then send out a copy and then the original turns up 2 weeks later. Once it never did.

          • Alan S 2 years ago

            It came in today’s post – issue 143 with a feature on windows

  22. Barry Alternative Fact Covfefe 2 years ago

    If you oppose your politicians vote them out. A road too far apparently…

  23. john 2 years ago

    It has noting to do with climate change it has to do with the bottom line cost wise and makes sense to put PV on your roof end of story.
    In fact put in in your back yard if your roof is so badly designed as a lot are.

  24. Eric 2 years ago

    Bring on grid defections. Screw the ba….ds!

    10 kw + plus should be easy on most homes. Couple of batteries and backup geny. Sayonara grid!

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      If you divide the cost of the batteries by the daily standing charge, you get the number of days of grid connection you could buy instead of the batteries. That might make you think again.
      And remember too that to get Feed in credits you must be on the grid. It’s a rip off, but it’s not a dead loss.

      • gasdive 2 years ago

        Or, rather than looking at how many days of grid connect, look at how much PV you could have bought. Most batteries cost about the same as an upgrade to three phase and putting an additional 10 kW on the roof. A battery will last 12 years, but the PV will last 30. 10 kW will more than pay for the connection charge. Even at 6 cents FIT.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          And the grid will probably be there long after I’m gone.
          An oversized array will earn you some money, but only if you stay on the grid. So the best way for the network owners to keep customers is to pay a decent FIT.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          An oversized system will pay the power bill, earn you a bit of money, but only if you stay connected.
          The grid will last a lot longer than any battery, and is essentially reliable.
          So if the network owners want to keep customers, the best way to do that is to pay a decent FIT.
          Mind you, a little battery that covers the occasional blackout would be nice, especially for people who have to pump theit water.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          My solar system is returning a substantial dividend, thankyou. The power bill is eliminated and between prepurchased power and dollars in the account I have $300 in credit with another $100 approx credit due tomorrow.
          Calculating how many days of grid connection would be required to equal the cost of a battery was just a way to show the the cost benefit of batteries is not yet very good.

    • RobertO 2 years ago

      Hi Eric. There used to be a group of people whom called themselves “Unions or Unionists. As consumers with batteries I wonder what would happen to grid pricing if say about 10% people whom have batteries get together and say to the grid owners (or State Government), “we are leaving the grid starting on XYZ date unless you right down the grid charging”. I wonder how long it would take them to react. It would be power to the people.

  25. Marg1 2 years ago

    What great news!

  26. DoRightThing 2 years ago

    Worth doing just to give the finger to the coal industry!

Comments are closed.

Get up to 3 quotes from pre-vetted solar (and battery) installers.