It’s absurd. But consumers may be better off quitting the grid

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As long as Australia’s energy networks hold on to their inflated asset base, and generators and retailers to their inflated profit margins, consumers will have no choice but to take matters into their own hands with solar and battery storage. But what a hopeless failure in public policy that would be.

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Australian consumers might as well start planning on leaving the grid – at least those who can. There seems no clear line of view that the gouging of consumers by networks, generators, and retailers will ever end.

The events of the past few weeks suggest there is simply no motivation for the utilities to change their stripes, or lower their charges and profit margins. They are under too much pressure from their shareholders; and to make matters worse for consumers, the regulators are too weak, and the politicians are pathetic.


The fundamental issue for consumers in Australia is that electricity prices are way too high. And they appear to be built in. And let’s not kid ourselves that this is entirely because of rising costs. That’s nothing but a ruse.

Utilities are making money from energy businesses like never before.

Investors are prepared to pay well over the odds of the already inflated regulated asset backing of networks (hear David Leitch talk about this in-depth on our most recent Energy Insiders podcast) because they consider themselves to have a God-given, or regulator-mandated, right to revenues.

The generators are making windfall profits from the surging price in wholesale markets. Consumers are told that their bills had to jump by an average 20 per cent because of the “unavoidable” rise in wholesale costs, driven by rising gas prices and the shut-down of Hazelwood.

Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 2.21.48 PM
From AGL 2016/17 results presentation

This is bunkum. AGL’s accounts shows its average cost of generation was just $37/MWh in the last year, and its Liddell coal plant sat idle half the time. Even Bayswater only had a capacity factor of 64 per cent.

No, the prices rose because the generators bid the price up, well beyond where the price of gas took the market. When told not to, as we saw in Queensland, the price fell like a stone. The chances of the shareholders of the big gen-tailers and other big generators telling them to do the same are somewhere between Buckley’s and zero.

So, what hope for the consumer? All the talk in Canberra, when the PM and his energy minister bravely eyeballed the utilities, was of helping out the most vulnerable.

That’s well and good. But the fundamental issue, the overall price of electricity, was not addressed. Discounts will be offered, and they may even be communicated, but the offerings will be sliced and diced in a way that will ensure that inflated retailer margins are not reduced.

Indeed, from the Finkel Review all the way through to the PM’s eyeballing, the talk has only ever been of price cuts at the margin.

And therein lies the problem. It seems clear that the only real option for consumers to achieve a significant reduction from the ridiculously high electricity bills they are now asked to pay is to focus on solar and storage and ultimately cut the umbilical cord to the grid.

It pains us to say so, because there are so many obvious inefficiencies and inequities that would arrive from a mass defection from the grid. It would result in over-investment in individual installations that would make the gold plating of networks seem trivial.

But the utilities have been warned, even by their own research, that mass defections are not just a possibility, but quite likely because the economics will demand it. Rather than acting on this advice, the energy industry is just getting greedier.

An effective charge of 40c/kWh, which is the average of what Australia consumers are asked to pay now (including the unavoidable and rising fixed charges), and up to double that for low energy users, is patently absurd and grossly unfair.

Consumers should be paying around half that price. And by using technologies like solar and storage they might be able to achieve such savings.

The addition of smart controls, and the ability to share power and trade it should make that something of a no-brainer – but who is going to be able to offer that on a large scale considering the legacy charges of the most expensive asset, the networks?

So, what needs to happen? Fundamental reform needs to occur.

This transition, everyone accepts, is inevitable. We can make it happen quickly smoothly and equitably, or we can delay for the sole purpose of filling the coffers of the incumbents. Policy settings need to be bold and thought through with a view to 21st century technology, not 19th century practices.

The Greens might be right, heavy regulation may be required. Most importantly, we probably need to kick out the bunch of regulators and rule makers who have served the consumer so poorly.

This is not limited to one group, but a whole “class” of regulators across state and federal jurisdictions who see their prime purpose to protect the incumbent monopolies and oligopolies. Consumers are an afterthought.

Take, for example, the Queensland regulator, which contemplated extra charges that it admitted were unfair, unnecessary and ineffective on the basis it would protect the revenue of the government-owned networks.

Or the NSW regulator, which just this week justified the fact that many consumers were charged the highest prices because they did not access discounts. This thinking has been rampant.

There has been a host of rule makers and policy makers who have aided and abetted the incumbent campaign against anything that would threaten their earnings: a carbon price, renewable energy targets, energy efficiency schemes, demand management initiatives, a fair price for rooftop solar, or a change to bidding rules.

Even building efficiency standards have been fought on the basis that it could reduce demand, as have initiatives that could, and should have, been rolled out to help those that either cannot access solar or cannot afford to.

The new wall around the incumbent utilities is designed to keep out new competitors. Enova Energy, a small community-based retailer in NSW this week spoke of its profound disappointment with the PM’s meeting with the big retailers.

CEO Tony Pfeiffer said the commitments made by the big retailers simply failed to address the systemic problems faced by the industry – which he says stem from a lack of rigorous control over the way generators operate and a failure to promote innovation or competition. That’s something the big players want to slow down and control until they can figure out how to profit from it.

“The game is changing, but the current playing field is far from level and consumers are suffering. (This week’s) talks do nothing to change that fact,” he says. “The government needs to stop procrastinating and start to nurture Australia’s transition to renewables too … because it’s happening anyway.”

And that’s where the consumer can step in.

What should they do? Well, they can switch plans if they haven’t already. That could save them around one-third of their energy costs.  But, for all the reasons that we’ve said before, this is just a merry-go-round. As more discounts are accessed, overall prices will rise. Retailers will defend their overall margins.

So the next step for consumers should be to add rooftop solar. The payback should be quick. Solar households pay around $1,000 less on average, but the savings will be greater with bigger systems. They are largely insulated from price rises like this year’s because they use less and will get more from their solar exports.

Battery storage could then be entertained to further reduce dependence on the grid. The economic benefits of that, it should be said, are not clear at this point and will vary from household to household, due to location, usage, tariff structures, network arrangements and the purpose and capabilities of the battery.

Solar Choice has a useful guide on where it might be interesting, and where it could be break-even.

But if there are no quick paybacks in storage now, it won’t be long. (For new houses facing a hefty connection fee, storage is very much in the money).

Even SA Power networks admits that the cost of solar and storage will fall to around 15c/kWh by around 2020.  South Australians currently pay more than 40c/kWh for their power from the grid, and battery storage costs are falling quickly and will go beyond that price quoted by SAPN.

That’s when the push for defection will take hold. And as consumers start to cut the cord, the incumbents will howl to the moon about the unfairness of it all and how they have no choice but to pass on the revenue pool to others.

What’s the answer? Well, an equitable push to a cleaner, smarter, and cheaper grid would be the obvious one. But as long as the networks hold on to their inflated asset base, and the generators and the retailers to their inflated profit margins, consumers will ultimately have no choice but to take matters into their own hands.

That’s exciting for the individuals involved. But really, what a hopeless failure in public policy that would be.

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  1. Craig Allen 2 years ago

    And renters? We’re doomed it seems.
    What I don’t understand is how the entire industry is in lock-step with the rorting behaviour. Why don’t start-ups step in, undercut the others and steal all their customers. That’s what generally happens in other sectors.

    • Andrew Roydhouse 2 years ago

      There is MUCH more to the story than is being revealed.

      Sometimes only telling half the truth is worse than telling lies.

      Much has been written on this site and elsewhere about the generators rorting the system.

      Little, from what I’ve seen, is written on EXACTLY who profits from this?

      ANSWER – EVERY Generator.

      Sure one or two can legally game the system while the others (in each state market) bid at a reasonable margin – but EVERY GENERATOR receives the highest price accepted by the system.

      So the wind farm operators, and PV operators get paid the same as the evil rorters do.

      See the hypocrisy here?

      They complain publicly but privately their owners rub their hands with glee as the ROI for their investment is increased to perhaps 3 or 4 or 37.2 times what they projected for their ‘publicly available’ or distributed to potential investors – business case (unless they contracted 100% of production that is).

      So Wind farm X can offer consistently while generating power at $45 per MW hour BUT it gets paid at the highest price accepted – so it also gets paid $13,800 just as the major players who go from offering -$1,000 to $13,800 the next.

      Now this is where it REALLY gets hypocritical. As the wind farm operator is always (hopefully) offering at a realistic profit margin – their return is higher than the companies legally rorting the system.

      It seems as a renewable generator without market power you can actually make MORE PROFITS per MW hour generated than the biggest operators do.

      Now why have we not seen this discussed?

      Sometimes only telling half the story….

      • Giles 2 years ago

        Nice argument. One problem: Most wind and solar farms get a pre-arranged price, fixed for 10, 13 or 20 years. Some wind farms not owned by the big utilities are “merchant”, so benefit from rising wholesale prices, but not many.

        • Andrew Roydhouse 2 years ago

          True seemingly most wind or PV farms do contract out most of their output. So in that case whoever has the off-take agreement profits. But if you look into the agreements in detail then perhaps you could find they still actually do have some “skin in the game”. Or maybe they don’t.

          Have we seen the ACT wholesale power price (and retail prices) significantly below those of other states given the ACT’s high contracted renewable power agreements?

          In the cases of the big retailers with the off take agreements – they have profited but your article above did not overtly refer to this component of their profits.

          It is in no generators interest to point this out is it?

          Nor any retailer who themselves can profit from this – after all a bonus is a bonus.

          Why would they? It’s all legal. I wonder if any of these companies also make political donations to both sides of the street?

          • Giles 2 years ago

            Most of the contracts are written by the big gen-tailers, who have the RET obligation, so they are the ones benefiting. It will be interesting to see what happens when the current boom in solar and wind investments finally gets on line. The ACT government ones have either been recently completed, or still under construction – so they haven’t had the time to do the calculations and net back.

        • solarguy 2 years ago

          PPA’s right? But AGL is a gentailer so would make a killing investing in their own solar and wind assets yes?

      • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

        Try getting finance for a 100% merchant RE plant! The only RE plants that can are those owned by large generators who can back fill any shortfall with FF generation. This will continue until more of the RE generators realise their folly, and go down the path of Genex and back their RE with pumped hydro, or ZEN with batteries. Once that type of installation reaches a critical mass it is all over for the current FF gouging and they know it – make hay while the sun shines and we have a limp rag as a PM.

        • Andrew Roydhouse 2 years ago

          Actually Mike,

          there have been a number fully financed, and have progressed past financial close in the past two years. Some funded by ARENA and others taken as a small proportion of a larger project.

          For those that had 100% off-loading agreements then the buyers have been pocketing this benefit.

          Either way – virtually all wind or PV power generated has participated in the $13,800 or $14,000 payments ever time they were accepted and the wind or PV plants were generating.

          BTW – I never said that these were 100% merchant projects. I wrote that unless they had contracted out 100% of production – then they received the ‘rort’ profits.

    • MaxG 2 years ago

      Your question is pointless. No matter what the topic or technology — there will always be a group of the population that cannot participate in a market for whatever reason.

  2. solarguy 2 years ago

    Electricity and gas prices have been increasing for years and in the last 7yrs it really has ramped up bigtime. I saw this coming, but even I have been gob smacked by scale of the rip off. As a designer and installer, who owns a Solar business I invested in a 2KW system, which at the time was $18k wholesale just for the gear. Back then in 2008, I was probably the first in Maitland to have solar. When we got word of the generous 60cent FIT I decided to up the size to 6.7kw, this paid so well that it allowed me to use this money to 1) Install Inverter split A/C’s over the horrible energy black hole called the ducted system and mainly finance extra PV, now 9.3KW and 968Ah battery system. We could go off grid if need be, but it is now paying me to stay grid connected because the FIT doubled to 12.5c/kwh.

    The beautiful upside is that the system not only runs the loads, including A/C, but it charges the battery bank, which will run A/C at night as well. But the best is that the power I’m sending back to the grid isn’t just paying for the SAC charge, it’s giving me a profit, yesterday I made $2. Beating these bastards at their own game is beautiful indeed.

    • DevMac 2 years ago

      As of July, along with the connection and usage price increases, my FiT also went up a bit over 50%. Whilst this is great news for me (and it has pushed back my consideration of changing retailers), it’s only bad news for anyone who doesn’t have solar panels and worse news for renters or those who don’t have the ability to control whether they get solar panels or not (Craig Allen’s point below).

      I believe there are small upstarts around doing some kind of power-sharing agreements between those with solar and those without solar (I know nothing about the machinations of it though, have only read about them tangentially, possibly on onestepoffthegrid)

      • solarguy 2 years ago

        I feel sorry for the renters and others that can’t get or afford solar. I’m going to try and get into the ear of Mark and Bill through party channels, who knows how that will pan out, but I’m going to try.

  3. Charles 2 years ago

    The suggestion that it would be financially viable for the average household to “quit the grid” is, in most cases, ridiculous.

    Here as some examples – the numbers here are not exact.

    A basic solar+battery system for $15k might allow a typical house to be 90% grid independent. A $25k system might allow for it to be 95% grid independent. A $35k system might allow 99% independence.

    But for 100%? For most households it’s going to cost $60k, 80k, 100k or more for a fully off-grid solar/battery system that can get through the depths of winter.
    And then in summer what happens? The house has so much solar that it generates everything it needs, including filling all the batteries, in the first couple of hours of the day. And what about the rest of the day? There is no grid connection to sell it!

    It is far more cost effective for a household to aim to be grid independent *at peak times*. Use a battery not just for solar but for load shifting from off-peak periods.

    No need to overinvest in solar or batteries and peace of mind that you still have a supply available if you need it. And the grid companies like it too – grid capacity is built for the peak demand, so if the peak load goes down, so does their need to invest in more upgrades – which is where a lot of the cost in a power network goes.

    • Andrew Roydhouse 2 years ago

      There is one small error in your logic.

      You do not consider having a small back-up generator in the mix.

      Having kept the daily records for our household for some years since putting in PV – then it is a relatively simple task to set up a spreadsheet that takes account of the round-trip losses from charging a battery etc etc and calculating what is needed to be 100% off-grid with 0% outage.

      If you are so inclined you can set it up to allow you to maximise the result for any number of factors such as least generator usage, least KW hour battery size, least PV KW installed. Having the actual in-situ data is invaluable.

      Combining the battery with electric hot water heating or a heat pump system are other options that can be built in.

      Long story short – for less than daily connection fee the payback time for a generator and diesel used really drops the cost of going totally off-grid in our case.

      Every one is different and needs to really pour through the numbers. It also helps to have a well-built house and substantial insulation.

      • Ian 2 years ago

        Why would you choose a diesel generator over a petrol one in a suburban setting? Just curious. Keeping the grid as your back up ‘generator would cost about $2.50/day or about $900 a year. If you got 12c/KWH FiT you would need to install an extra 900/0.12/300/5 KW worth of solar panels to get enough FiT payments to negate this cost. The sum comes to 5KW of extra solar panels just to get $900 a year! Considering you may have 30 days, at a guess, of cloudy, inclement weather over the year needing say, storage for three days or the use of genset, how big a generator would you need? A 5KVA generator would have to run for at very least 6 hr to supply 30KWH for a bigger house . This may well annoy the neighbours! 60KWH of batteries to tide such a house over for 2 days at $1000/KWH is $60 000. This is not very economical unless you cheat on your taxes.

        The only way to really go off grid is to modestly over-build the solar and storage capacity, get as insulated and energy efficient as you can and then energy- hibernate for the cloudy days. A 30KWH household with 10 KW of panels on the roof and two power walls at 28KWH could drop their consumption on cloudy days to 1/2 of what they normally use and the power walls could sustain them for two days. This solar plus storage system might cost $40000 but the payback would be roughly 40000/ ( 30 x 365 x .4) = 9 years. Doable, but you’d have to be very annoyed with the grid operators or be an early adopter enthusiast.

        • Andrew Roydhouse 2 years ago

          On your figures and assumptions – your numbers seem correct (from a glance).

          However for our 5 person household I have run the numbers and created a linear programming model that allows me to maximise whatever outcome I wish.

          There is a trade-off to excess solar panels (if roof space permits only though), and extra battery storage.

          Nobody suggests it is a wise investment to install solar panels just to get a 11 to 15 cent feed-in tariff – NOBODY (ex-Wa of course).

          The best payoff is from self consumption – it is just how you achieve that and balance any occasional shortfall.

          In our case, since we installed our panels they have generated and fed more electricity to the grid then we have taken from the grid on a rolling one year period. So a battery effectively is needed only as a smoothing device except for VERY rare periods over the last 4+ years of daily data which included two ‘1 in 50 yr’ rainfall/excessive overcast periods for our location.

          Sounds a bit like the Australian grid doesn’t it?

          The panels generated some PV through those periods but not nearly enough. This is where a generator (could be petrol but depends on best energy production per unit cost) would be running to top up the battery NOT full bore to provide 100% of household demand.

          As I said – having our daily data, which is broken up intra-day as well, puts us at a distinct advantage.

          So it becomes a simple matter of what is the cost of a generator (low noise, suitably housed) running for 2x what any period in our data set required (ultra conservative – hell hath no fury like a female teenager without a hairdryer in winter), what is the fuel cost vs the feed-in tariff.

          Even having a zero uplift in the feed-in tariff suggests the generator is the way to go and actually shortens the total payback period for adding a battery.

          In our case that is.

          As I mentioned previously, a well built north facing double brick house with eaves, roof at the almost exactly correct angle for the PV panels and well insulated is a major advantage.

          The panels, even some years down the track are still generating at well over 100% per rolling year what all the calculators suggest they should be. Insisting that the installer up-speced the quality of copper wire etc etc (and we paid a tiny amount more) all adds up to a better outcome.

          • Ian 2 years ago

            Thank you, you speak from your personal experience, which counts a lot. I agree with what you have set up, no problems there. I was providing a different angle in the calculations, namely the problem of backup. Theoretically any coastal area will experience days of cloud when their panels produce only a fraction of nameplate capacity. Maybe that’s not such an issue. But, assuming it is a problem, then you need backup. The grid is a form of backup, and it’s not so cheap. How do you pay for the continuous grid connection? Well you could fork out the cash, or you could install extra solar to get the FiT. How much extra solar would you need to splurge on to cover the cost of the grid connection? At a FiT of 12c /KWH that comes to about 5KW of solar panels. Just a crazy thought experiment. 5KWH extra solar panels is not bad really, this means you can pay off your grid connection in about 5 years! So, it’s viable to instal enough extra solar to garner the pathetic FiT to pay off this hedge against the network connection fee. The grid is after all a lot quieter, and locally less polluting then a generator;). As Solarguy so clearly says, installing extra solar can tide you over the cloudy days. Well in our little experiment, the 5KW of extra solar, designed just to hedge against the network fee, turns out to have another bonus, namely producing a little bit of electricity when the clouds are about.

        • solarguy 2 years ago

          Ian, to get 40kwh of batteries doesn’t have to cost $40k. You can get that sort of storage for about $16k, using good lead acid gels, far cheaper than lithium technology and will last as long.

    • Richard 2 years ago

      That is silly . You can easily cover the balance with a generator that kicks in when needed. No more than 5k would cover it for those dark winter days. The new generators are very efficient and quite.
      We live in a town and I’m going to cut the cord to the grid in 3 years.

      • solarguy 2 years ago

        Look at over sizing your PV and it may pay your SAC and on shitty days might get you over the line as far as consumption goes.

        • Richard 2 years ago

          Yes that is true. But I live in a cold cloudy place during winter. Just need it for a couple of months occasionally.

          The plan is to have it as backup and figure out a way of not using it at all. But the most important plan is to leave the grid( in town ) within the next 3 years. The generator is the best way to do that at the moment in our situation.

          • MaxG 2 years ago

            “The plan is to have it as backup and figure out a way of not using it at all.” Wrong again; the diesel is supposed to run as a maintenance exercise; oil needs changing; diesel too if not used. As such, it is better to run the diesel over extended hours — e.g. maintenance hours become generation hours that are actually useful. — Unless you argue that using FF is not an option; in that case an added battery would have work for me.

          • Richard 2 years ago

            No we are going to have a decent battery. The generator is backup only.
            I think on the grid they call it redundancy or something. We will operate like a hospital. When all else fails the generator is there.
            However my hope is we will not have to use it in the longer term, either by upscaling battery or reducing consumption.

            The No1 priority is to cut the cord to the grid .

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Equipment, such as inverters fail, just a fact of life. An added battery will work, but also a back up inverter would be a good idea in regard to off grid.

          • MaxG 2 years ago

            I have got 2 inverters; two panels; one Selectronic with awesome support turnaround; a generator and the grid; what could go wrong? :))

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Mate I reckon your covered. You would have to be bloody unlucky for 2 inverters to fail, the genny fail to start and the grid go down at the same time.

    • Roger Franklin 2 years ago


      There are so many factors that come into calculating the viability of going off the Grid. These include location, current day and night time energy use along with roof space calculations. This will determine what is right for you – but I agree that for most people, staying connected to the Grid is a good solution and the use of local “behind the metre” batteries will help peak demand and to a large extent – tone down the spot price opportunities that exist today.

      The Grattan Institute did some research a while ago that saw going off the grid would cost around $70-80k, however what is Average. If you are a low power user (under 8kw per day) – then I would start crunching the numbers. The more power you use, the more marginal the payback is. If you use 50kw per day – well good luck!

      Some people will remain on the grid as a Guarantee, however you need to decide how much excess power can you generate to offset the supply charge and what the net result will me.

      As Battery Costs come down and capacities go up – the economics will change.

      Each to their own.

      • Charles 2 years ago

        Thanks Roger and all others who have replied (sorry, I’ll reply to them all here!)

        I’ve never considered a generator as something that is reasonable and practical for a suburban setting. If you live on a rural property maybe. But if any of my neighbours start one up I’ll be lodging complaints… not to mention the cost of diesel is more than the cost of even SA grid electricity so it would have to be a pretty dire situation to prefer it over the grid.

        You still have the issue with maintaining a supply of diesel and ensuring the generator is started and tested every few months – and the issue with what to do with the excess solar generation.

        • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

          I agree about gensets Charles but a battery based reserve is quite feasible if you have gas HW and cooking. It was interesting for us during the 2011 Brisbane floods when we lost power for 2 1/2 days, that we got by with a 1kWh UPS which we carted across to a suburb that still had power, and with a plug in 500W inverter on the car, plus we have gas HW and stove. That kept phones, internet and lights going, while we had normal HW and cooking. It was not so much fun but illustrated what you could comfortably live with, with relatively little storage and a bit of intelligent demand management.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Mike look into getting a ET solar hot water system. You will save a stack on gas.

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            It’s a capital vs fixed charges thing, but also a control thing. Which is why I’m working on a Raspberry Pi gadget to maximise my solar value.

    • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

      You need to tease out how much of your load is curtailable and how much is mission critical. Generally only a tiny fraction is mission critical, uninterruptible, and some of that is probably already backed up with its own UPS – think of NBN boxes, modems, phones already but increasingly LED lighting. HW and fridges can be interrupted for hours at a time, and certainly overnight, leaving a relatively small “critical” load. Microwaves and jugs draw a fair bit of current but for very short durations. Last check the “uninterruptible” appliance drawing most energy in 24h in our place was the large TV and attached computer used by the kids for playing games!

      • Ian 2 years ago

        Some of the battery storage people like Enphase seem to attempt to prioritise loads like you’re suggesting. Most rooftop solar systems are very parasitical on the grid. Generating electricity sometimes and exporting it and importing electricity willy-nilly. Some generate so much that their overall grid consumption is nil or a net export. The grid functions as a benevolent fairy god-mother taking care of storage and reliability functions.

        This may explain why the gentailers are all in a tiz.

        A grownup solar and storage system should be more self-reliant , able to take responsibility for it’s reliability and storage issues by prioritising loads both on an instantaneous basis and for mission critical times.

        Perhaps grid- defection can be rebranded as electricity independence or prosumer system maturity.

    • solarguy 2 years ago

      Charles, I agree with what Roger has said. Over size the PV and keep the battery size down.

      • MaxG 2 years ago

        It depends; in relation to what is there agreement?

        • solarguy 2 years ago

          Max, can you elaborate on that.

          • MaxG 2 years ago

            Who is Roger?
            Why would you oversize the PV and keep the battery down?
            So, where is the agreement?

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Roger put a post here. If you work out the minimum amount of kwh that you need to get by with on crappy days, size your PV to produce that amount, if your on a budget, as PV is cheaper than batteries. Then the batteries can be designed for less autonomy, especially if your grid connected, because you can sell excess on good days.

          • MaxG 2 years ago

            Thanks… makes sense…

    • Rod 2 years ago

      Here in temperate Adelaide our little 1960’s brick veneer all electric house (gas cooktop) survives on about 4 kWh per day for 3 seasons and about 8kWh in Winter to boost the solar HWS
      Our 2.6 kWp system exports four times our imports most of the year.
      If I wasn’t on a premium FiT I would cut the cord tomorrow for less than $10k.
      Do the work on energy efficiency first and off grid is an easy next step.

      • Ian 2 years ago

        Nice personal experience. Have you installed insulation in the ceilings and walls? Yours is a very lean electricity consumption figure.

        • Rod 2 years ago

          One of our first jobs when we moved in as a young couple 35 ish years ago was insulating the ceiling, just to survive the heat.
          Followed soon after by shade on the West. We did get blow in insulation in the walls but due to lack of access (asbestos roof) the job is incomplete. I have also stapled some eTherm foil under the roof but again that could be done better.

          To be honest, my most valuable expense was about $200 for a whole house energy monitor. Wattson, sadly no longer in business. This highly visible device lets the whole family know how much electricity we are using in real time. Instantly showed me how much we were using on the ac crankcase heater. I manage that manually now.

    • MaxG 2 years ago

      Well, as a person who is basically off-grid, and has helped over ten people to do the same, your 100% figures are simply wrong. Add 2k$ to the 35k$ for a diesel generator and you’re done.
      The reason I’m still connected is avoiding the diesel generator and the WAF (wife acceptance factor). The feed-in of 10 Cents, pays for the connection fees; but I reckon if I do the numbers properly, the gen set will turn out cheaper; also extending my system life by not feeding power to the grid.

      • Charles 2 years ago

        Where were the properties you helped set up for off-grid? Rural areas where the alternative was paying $50k to run a line from the street, or in the suburbs?
        Are we going to see every house in the suburbs buying a diesel generator to go off grid?
        Or are they going to get 1 battery that reduces their dependence by 90%, and allows them to buy at cheap off-peak rates for the small amount they need from the grid?
        I guess in my situation I live in Tasmania and drive an electric car, so the thought of firing up the diesel generator at 50c/kWh to generate polluting electricity to power my car, when I could buy clean hydro at off-peak rates from the grid at 13c/kWh, does seem a bit strange.

        • MaxG 2 years ago

          There are multiple ways to skin a cat, alas, different solutions for different circumstances. I deliberately moved to the sticks (leaving suburbia) to finish life on a high note… the aim to be as self-reliant as possible, ditch as many bills as possible, etc. But, even if I would live in suburbia, I would plonk as many panels as I could (could have catered for 12kW/h); and of courses added a battery, as I did here (in the country). If a generator would have been required; which would solely depend on how much blackmail the retailer applies, I would have gotten one, in a noise-insulated box. The point here is, that a small diesel genny with 3-6 kWp/h would work nicely.

          Yes, prices differ from state to state; e.g. up here in Qld it is 27 Cents. So, yes in your case it would seem strange 🙂

  4. Tim Forcey 2 years ago

    …about as absurd as building a gas import facility in Victoria!

    • Brunel 2 years ago

      I wonder if even Yes Minister could come up with that!

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  5. Mark Roest 2 years ago

    Giles, it’s not hopeless, just pointless. Hope is not for an immediate cure-all, but rather, a direction that can wind up in a good place, despite the greedy conspirators.
    The first step may be to strengthen the renewable energy, battery storage, and energy efficiency trade associations, and ally with the microgrid, energy management system, and charging station makers. Also strengthen the quality control systems, and line up finance for those makers who do well. Be truly serious about all the above — it’s the foundation.
    Second, get universities and other experts to help develop a set of standards for system design of solar that comes as close as possible to meeting both building and vehicle-charging needs for each building, block and neighborhood, and for sizing and installing all the pieces above — either when the solar goes in, or by attaching later to stub-ends left ready for this purpose. It’s easier and cheaper to open the walls just once. Plans in place, go for it with solar and as much more as each customer is ready for.
    Third, get someone to fund Ron Powers of Powers Design International to develop a system for converting all vehicle makes and models from fossil fuels to battery-electric — he has the team, the knowledge, and the work-flow-supporting software to get the job done fast and well. I can reach him. This keeps money in the country, since you’ve lost your manufacturers. Ron’s team is also the best at designing new vehicles. There are different philosophies for how to do conversions, so different companies do it different ways.
    Fourth, I can suggest where to invest in breakthrough battery technology, which could be in volume production in under 2 years, to slash your purchase prices and levelized cost of storage (which factors in cycle life). Your combined levelized cost of energy for solar plus battery charging should be under 7 cents, not 15.
    Fifth, if you want a new vehicle, do community-scale, and state-scale battery electric vehicle volume buys direct from manufacturers, like a consortium of U.S. cities is doing — or join them.
    Sixth, I can recommend a company that rotates charging among 4 high-level-2 ports. You only need one primary circuit for all of them, and it minimized capacity charges from the utility. This is meant for multi-family-residential, and places of employment, where cars typically park (‘dwell’) for 6 to 8 hours. Most cars will be charged in less than 2 hours, and as each is topped off, there is more focus on the ones that need more. Here in the US, that cuts both installation cost and charging cost in half.
    Just organize with as much depth as you can muster (it will improve over time) at all scales, and drive for mutual support and triple-e or better sustainability. (Translation: Economic, Environmental, and Equity (fair dinkum) Sustainability, to which I’d add support for Cultural identity and integrity — EECE-S?.) 🙂

    • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

      Retro fitting electric motors into combustion engine cars? Not sure about that. I think electric cars need to be designed for electric motors from the ground up.

      • Ian 2 years ago

        Not necessarily, there are people who do conversions of ICE vehicles to EV but it’s a boutique type industry. What I find interesting is the possibility of fitting larger generators to ICE vehicles to create a V2G capability, only the V2G is not Electric vehicle but ICE vehicle. Oh, the irony of this , use distributed fossil fuelled cars to completely gut the centralised FF generator empire!

        • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

          Not sure about this one either.

          Can you imagine a typical street where every garage has a car in it with its motor running 24/7 to generate electricity (in neutral gear, a brick on the pedal)? The noise alone would send even the most resilient resident around the twist, and no-one would be able to close their garage door due to a build up of carbon monoxide. I think V2G debunks itself.

      • Mark Roest 2 years ago

        The focus is on something that has not been done before: a whole systems approach, as in “a system for converting all vehicle makes and models from fossil fuels to battery-electric.” There are between 100 and 200 million cars in the USA alone, about a billion vehicles in the world as a whole. I am accounting for the difference between a simple re-power, designed by the best transportation equipment designers in the world, with a supply chain and information systems in place to support it, and building a billion new vehicles to replace the ones we have already.
        Consider Cuba after the embargo, with cars from the 1950s still well-cared for (to prevent rust). Now imagine them all running on solar energy which also powers the buildings. It does not really matter (assuming additional improvements in how we make solar panels) how heavy the vehicle is, when the solar or wind source is effectively infinite. As vehicles become worn out, they may be recycled, and there will be lots of room for many different specialty vehicles, and increases in the total number of vehicles. But we don’t need to replace the fleet as a whole — just repower it!

        • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

          Yes more than a billion vehicles in the world now, but each vehicle is utilised at a tiny rate on average, about 4%. With the TaaS disruption the total number of vehicles needed will be reduced by an order of magnitude because the utilisation rate per vehicle will be increased by an order of magnitude – up to around 40%

          What a billion vehicles facilitate today, a mere couple of hundred million vehicles will facilitate by about 2030 under TaaS, each having a much higher utilisation rate than today.

          It will require electric vehicles designed for maximum possible range, minimum service, and with autonomous capabilities.

          Sorry but we can’t convert our combustion engine clunkers to fit the new model. Better to just recycle them and rely on completely modern designs.

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            Particularly when you add in the staggering cost of parking that disappears under TAAS: halving the cost of supermarket developments, delivery so cheap going there will be absurd.

          • Mark Roest 2 years ago

            I guess you did not pick up on the Cuba reference. You have a partial point in prosperous industrial nations with little disparity in wealth. You may be able to count them on your fingers. For the people on the wrong end of wealth disparity in the rest of the world, you have no point, because it hurts them economically to try to buy a new car (it costs too much or it is made too cheaply). Also, a large proportion of people in the developing world live spread out in rural areas. We can provide them a superb drive train in a well-cared-for body that they love, and if the body does wear out before the drive train does, we may have a recipe for them to 3D-print up one of a variety of possible new bodies that fit the drive train.
            There is zero reason for them to be hooked on consumerism a la the wealthy Western nations or Japan. There is a world of reasons for them to be empowered to live in harmony with the natural world and the human communities around them, in a form of prosperity that has true meaning.

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Yeah I must have dismissed the Cuba reference, don’t know why.

            the people on the wrong end of the wealth disparity … because it hurts them economically to try to buy a new car

            The TaaS disruption will ensure most of those people don’t have to buy a new car. They will just order Transport as a Service to transport them from A to B, and that transport will be at a very cheap rate, in a modern electric car, from doorway to doorway, in an autonomous vehicle.


            You have a point about rural areas – they will be the last ones to be able to adopt the massive cost saving convenience of TaaS. They should be all set though by the early 2030s.

          • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

            Ren when I was a kid I loved working on a family friend’s farm, as it gave opportunity for a 12yo to learn to drive, taking the milk cans down to the gate every morning and picking up the mail. I can see rural areas finding tremendous value in autonomous couriers bringing groceries from town after taking the kids to school, saving the farmer time that could be spent on flying the drone over the bottom paddock or reprogramming the autonomous harvester…

            It may come in a different way with different drivers, but automation is profoundly impacting Australian farms already.

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Just a heads-up to rural councils then – consistent road widths and markings would accelerate the adoption of TaaS in rural areas.

  6. Andrew Dillon 2 years ago

    Giles, with inequality rising as a major issue across the globe, you’re recommending the one step that is guaranteed to make it far worse in the energy sector and turn the country into the energy haves and have-nots.
    Not to mention the crazy inefficiency.
    Can you explain how this is a better pathway to a future with secure and affordable low-carbon energy than reforming what we’ve got to deliver a connected future?

    • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

      Andrew I agree with your sentiments, but what should be bleeding obvious in both economic and social equity terms is simply being ignored by the grossly corrupted government we have in power at present. It is clear to anyone that a country importing half its transport fuels but with an abundance of RE, that has underutilised distribution assets but a transport sector as big as its power sector in terms of energy consumption, and that has declining investment in construction and the run on effects in terms of poor wage growth, should be using every lever available to promote RE investment and a rapid transition to EVs. EVs also provide a pathway to lower cost transport for the least well off in our society, thru lower operating costs. So with a pathway out of high power prices, high emissions and increasing inequality, what does this corrupted government do? Plays politics but does nothing!

      There is no doubt blossoming rooftop solar is putting enormous pressure for change on the industry. Batteries increase that pressure. Giles may have overreached in suggesting going off grid does more, tho’ it does provide insurance against potentially much higher fixed charges: these don’t have to go much higher and many pensioners will be better off with a mobile phone, a gas ring and LED lanterns, and no power connection, recharging their batteries at the local library.

    • Giles 2 years ago

      No, I am not recommending it. i am saying it is inevitable if nothing else changes. The networks have said the same thing, warning of 30% desertion. I think i made it pretty clear it was a bad outcome, but would happen if the policy makers didn’t get their act together. apologies if i didn’t

      • Ian 2 years ago

        Giles, you only made it pretty clear that grid defection is a bad outcome because you didn’t want to offend the likes of Andrew here. We all know you are a closet- off-gridder!

      • MaxG 2 years ago

        It will be inevitable for the clear thinkers. There is no reason to be apologetic about it. Electricity has become a private good — as such, I have neither interest nor obligation supporting it.
        Every price increase confirms that putting up a BESS was the best money spent in my life, decreases the ROI of the system, and makes me smile every day.

    • nakedChimp 2 years ago

      You’re in no position to change this current outcome.
      It’s ‘build’ into the monetary system what we are experiencing.
      The weak and poor still have to much to loose to actually grab torches and pitchforks and storm the Bastille.

      This train wreck will go further, until it breaks.
      We’re just in episode 3 of 10 or so.
      Expect worse in the future.
      This exponential growing sucker isn’t done yet.
      It wants more.

      You can’t blame people to make up their mind and quit, if they are able to. No one is obliged to provide first aid if he doesn’t want to.

      • MaxG 2 years ago

        Spot on!
        THE reason why we become as self-reliant as possible. “Disconnecting” (as in non-consuming) is the only option, as nothing will change; the fleecing will continue until the system fails.

        • Ian 2 years ago

          Depending where you live, disconnecting from the grid need not be a permanent choice, if grid atrophy is a concern, then those can be reassured, as soon as conditions improve and become more people-centric, those that have disconnected will just reconnect again -no biggy.

  7. Ian 2 years ago

    The truth be out eh. Don’t worry, if this momentum continues the pressure will be on for proper energy reform. I’m with Giles, distributed solar plus storage is the type of competition the industry needs to shake it up. As others have commented, utility scale renewables may not be without blood on their hands.

    The problem of standby storage/generation is not an insurmountable problem

    • Charles 2 years ago

      What’s the point of changing to gas cooking? Yeah, you have a lower electricity bill. But you now have a gas bill.

      • Rod 2 years ago

        ATM induction cooktops are pretty pricey and a full sized oven can use a lot of power.
        I prefer a gas cooktop and we use bottled gas. 8.5kg bottles last between 3 and 4 Months. No connection needed.

        • solarguy 2 years ago

          You figured it out Rod, that’s what we use LPG gas oven and cook top using 9kg bottles cheap as chips. Before our house was built I looked into getting town gas connected, but too bloody expensive. My mates thought I was a nutter, but guess who reminds them ” I told ya so wankers” as they bitch about their gas bills.

          • Phil 2 years ago

            The 9KG ones mean no cylinder rental and easy swap at bunnings for less than $25 a time. Only 2 at a time allowed in a car though. Otherwise use a trailer

            I use 4 in Parallel to enable a 16LPM instant system to run in a very cold climate ( we get to minus 18) .It’s 100% reliable

            My cooking is the wood heater / oven combo 8 months of the year with a medium sized electric oven the rest and microwaves slow cookers , rice cookers , toasters etc all year round as needed .

            Summer you have oodles of power. Winter not , so it all just works

          • Ian 2 years ago

            Why not, indeed. Have multiple appliances of different types. They really are quite cheap. Why have just an electric oven and electric stove top when you can have a microwave, gas cooktop, barbecue, etc ,etc. To have reliability you need some redundancy, but the redundancy does not need to be on the roof or in batteries, it can be in the appliances.

          • Rod 2 years ago

            We very seldom use an oven (other than the solar oven in summer) so have a benchtop glass jobby. Horrendously inefficient.

            Yes, I managed to break our ceramic cooktop and the insurance money covered a new cooktop with LPG jets and most of the plumbing costs. I tell anyone who will listen, go all electric and cook with gas.

        • Kim Grierson 2 years ago

          I bought an induction cooktop from Ikea that wasn’t too expensive. It is a pleasure to use and seconds to clean- unlike my old gas cooktop that I removed. My friend just bought a plug in induction plate which she happily uses while her solar is producing and it was very economical to buy.

          • Rod 2 years ago

            Good to hear they are coming down in price.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            I had the same idea Kim, it makes sense, just haven’t got around to buying a plug in yet.

        • Charles 2 years ago

          When we built our house we were naturally buying a new cooktop anyway, so we got an induction – I agree with what Kim said below.
          My point is, sure, you can use gas for cooking, and you can use wood for heating, and you can use petrol to run your car, and get diesel for your generator… but then you have spend the time organising supply of all of those items, and paying for them all. I use electricity for almost everything, including the lawnmower and one of the cars, the only things we don’t use it for are the other car and the BBQ. When I add a battery in the next year I’ll only be paying off-peak rates (13c/kWh) for anything my solar doesn’t provide.

      • Ian 2 years ago

        Standby gas cooking, heating etc is what I said, the operative word is standby. The problem with electricity storage at present is cost. In the year giga 1 that may not be such a big issue, and definitely in the years Chinese-gigafactory 2 to 50 definitely passé , but in good old 2017 battery storage is expensive and it’s economy needs to be reserved for daily time shifting of solar to night-time. So, what to do about the prolonged cloudy days. Well, my point 6 that you latched onto was a type of solution to this dilemma : break out the gas cooker and use that when the sun does not shine to charge your battery, or have a barbecue on the patio on those miserable days or buy a pizza if you must. There’s a cost to 100% reliable off-grid electricity which is far higher than off-grid electricity reliable for 70% of the time.

        In Australia we have, on the whole, an extremely reliable electricity grid, the thought is that that sort of reliability does not come cheap. In theory generators can bid super high prices when generating capacity is scarce, and renewables generators need firming capacity, standby gas generators in WA that have hardly ever been used are paid capacity payments, PHES in South East Queensland sit idle waiting for some unforeseen event to provide last resort power generation.

        Well if your gonna defect from the grid then you need to plan for your own unforeseen events. How are you going to do it? You can follow the example of the national grid and buy expensive equipment, or you can relook at what you’re doing and try to get the cheapest and most thought-out system. Electricity is just a means to an end. The end product is a cosy home, hot water on demand , hot, fresh food on the plate, domestic chores done for you, information, communication and entertainment etc. you don’t need electricity , necessarily, to achieve all this , as I say, gas can help you out very occasionally.

        If solar-batteries become as cheap as Macca’ chips then not much thinking will be needed, just wack in a massive solar array and an even more massive battery and be done with it.

        • solarguy 2 years ago

          Ian, PV is so cheap you simply oversize the array, e.g.

          If you need to produce a minimum of 5kwh, then you put on a 5kw array and you should get that 5kwh on a shit day, so you don’t need to spend up big on batteries. It really is that simple as a rule of thumb.

          • Phil 2 years ago

            Yep , “overpannelling” it’s called.

            And it may also pay to split the panels with some facing North and Some West

            And in an off grid setup it may pay to angle the panels at 10 degrees to allow self cleaning and get maximum skylight on cloudy days

            Beware the ON grid solar people have a mindset of maximum kwh contribution. Whereas the OFF grid mindset is reliability and redundancy with a flatter , longer charge curve in all weather

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Mate I design and install solar so I know. Tilt angle is all dependant on latitude and when you need to produce the most power.

  8. TheTransition 2 years ago

    Grid prices are ridiculous. Enterprising people should start selling diesel gensets throughout Australia. Over 50% of people would be better off running diesel than buying grid generated electricity.

    • solarguy 2 years ago

      No they would be better off with solar.

  9. MaxG 2 years ago

    It is really simple… Whoever builds a house has a choice of building energy-efficient. It is their choice not to, and then pay for the inefficiencies as long as they life in this house. If these inefficiencies would be properly accounted for, the result would be obvious. My experience has also been that the term comfort is not well understood. In simple terms it means heating, cooling and ventilating that each occupant feels ‘comfortable’. Comfort cannot be achieved in standard house, unless one is prepared to pay the then hefty energy bills… but even then is ‘comfort’ not achievable.
    I have the numbers, have had data loggers in standard houses; lived in one, and am looking forward to move into my energy-efficient house — to have the comfort I was accustomed to when living in Germany.
    As for the headline: Fully agree; the smart approach is is to never consider gas, make the place electric and run everything on it with the appropriate sized PV/Battery system, and you’re laughing for the rest of the time you live with such a set-up.

  10. Ken Fabian 2 years ago

    In rural Australia I suspect grid defections would be welcomed by the incumbents – if it weren’t for that guarantee making it profitable.

    Every long run of power poles to a few households and rural businesses in the bush has to be costing far more just in ongoing maintenance than it would to supply solar and batteries to service them – more even than gold plated ie oversized solar and battery systems.

    • GregS 2 years ago

      Wouldn’t it be more cost effective for the incumbents to offer huge rebates to get those rural areas off the grid in return for not having to upkeep those long runs of power poles?

  11. Phil 2 years ago

    Did it 3 years ago , half the cost , 100 times the reliability and NO meter readers in casual clothes with no I.D on car or person turning up . Who are they ?,could be anyone . This is what Australia is today in a Capital City (Brisbane)

    Schoolchildren could run it better and do a better job
    It’s an appalling fact of an entire industry that is not only dysfunctional but treats the customer as a doormat.

    • Chris 2 years ago

      What do you mean 100 times the reliability? I very highly doubt you had a supply that bad living in a Capital City (Brisbane). And curious to how many kwh your home uses per day and if you ever use a generator?

      • Phil 2 years ago

        The grid had NO redundancy apart from me starting the genset .93% uptime in flood times and i didn’t flood , 97% normally in a bad storm year due trees taking out wires in windstorms due lack of pruning and line repairs.

        Power out for 48 hours or more multiple times per year not unusual and it’s going to get worse

        This was in the Brisbane metro area, a Brisbane City Council rateable area .

        My off grid is 99.9999% uptime with TRIPLE redundancy . AND my volts are within 10% of 230 volts at all times. I used to lose 1 appliance a year when the volts went as high as 253 volts on the grid. My system works , theirs is a train wreck

        It’s very much like Brisbane water , it tastes appalling yet the authorities think it’s great and better than tank water !

        It’s all about the self interest and i look after mine now.

        • Chris 2 years ago

          What suburb in Brissy do you live? QLD infrastructure must be terrible compared to VIC. Our last power cut was in 2013 and only lasted an hour, Melbourne also has some of the best quality water supplies in the world. Oh and my quarterly bill is around $220, only a tad over what its costing you to run your system off grid.

          • Phil 2 years ago

            Kholo , 8km from Ipswich with a population of 200,000 and 26km line of sight from the Brisbane CBD .

            The crazy thing was the biggest substation for all of Brisbane was 4km away at Blackwall ! .

            The amount of times i reported trees ACTUALLY touching 11kv feeders, and rotting crossarms and even isolating switches glowing bright red (hot) at night i lost count of .

            I even had to write direct to the board of directors due the bushfire risk with rotting crossarms and insulators at a 45 degree angle floating around inside the rot ready to pop out , hit the ground and arc

            The floods go to 30 meters high and take out entire feeders where they cross the river. You cant fix that stuff in days , takes weeks

            It’s only going to get worse with the storms and floods increasing in frequency. It’s third world stuff , the grid is NOT designed to take it because it’s 100% above ground .

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Shit, sounds like a horror story!

      • Phil 2 years ago

        My off grid system is 10kwh per day average fully funded in perpetuity including finance / replacement / repairs / genset for $2.20 per day with a design for 10 of 2 hour genset bursts per annum.

  12. Chris 2 years ago

    In vic network costs over the last 15 years have remained steady or declined. Generation and retailers cost is what has increased. What do the retailers even do to require an increase in costs and how are they even allowed to get away with such a rort

  13. Malcolm M 2 years ago

    The futures markets show a substantial fall in both electricity and gas prices from about January 2018. Innovative retailers should be able to “lock in” these lower prices by increasing the switch fee, but it doesn’t seem to be happening. They’re all in the same pack.

    And when spot prices decrease, will our retailers reduce the useage charge ?

  14. Ray Miller 2 years ago

    Giles, love the authentic article quite refreshing. I think you are starting to get to the bottom of the problem.
    The cost of my household exiting the grid would be a net positive. Maybe it would require a number of us to exit and quite publicly to make the point and shake the current system!
    It would not be my preference and I agree with your point, everything which has been done by all levels of government and current NEM participants and Utilities has been to encourage as many as possible to exit. So they should not be too shocked when we leave, the problem is we take with us all the free services we have been providing the grid, which will be an every increasing problem to utilities.

    Expanding on a point made by MaxG in the comments about dwelling comfort and energy is also valid and a significant variable in the NEM equation (more than which has been acknowledged). The same players who wrote the energy policy have written he Australian Construction Code to make sure that we are all more dependent on expensive energy and that the most vulnerable in our communities are more exposed to exploitation.

    You did not mention the extra 10% of demand on the Queensland grid pumping all the gas from remote areas to Gladstone and that more gas is then needed on the NEM at a higher cost. It would seem that their may not be a net benefit (only a high cost) to all this gas exploration and exploitation after all. And of course we are burning more coal as well as gas to pump more gas go figure? No one is looking at the big picture.

    • DogzOwn 2 years ago

      But how huge and what is burned at what price to run LNG plants? Not gas for sure.

    • super390 2 years ago

      A way to publicly protest while exiting the grid might be organizing mass buys of solar panels at certain times of the year. Luckily, Christmas is summer where you are.

      Group buys are a good way to create clickbait headlines. You get people to sign up, negotiate a discounted price with a manufacturer/distributor, publicize that price, and then more people sign up. Of course the prices end up in the headlines, and people have to read further to understand that those aren’t normal retail prices. But if they have any sense they’ll understand that the discount is possible because the technology is fundamentally cheap and getting cheaper and there should be some way to exploit that on a national scale so as to prevent people from getting left behind.

      It’s the combination of the prices and the numbers of people that draw attention. Your protest against the absurdity of the situation will be the takeaway.

  15. Don McMillan 2 years ago

    and all manufacturers and energy dependent business must move offshore – there is no hope here.

    • Phil 2 years ago

      That’s already happening . We shut down ALL the car manufacturing plants and bring in more blue collar workers as refugees.

      Meanwhile back in their own countries they are ramping up Car Production massively
      How does that work ?

    • Falcoh 2 years ago

      GoogErth-drop into just about any town in the south of Germany, Black Forest country, and about 80% of medium & large commercial buildings, hangers etc,, are plastered with panels. Switched on commerce. Drop in on any factory area in Oz to find the same logic, and zip. Near to nothing. Dumb on-mass.

      The only commercial solar instal I know of is a timber mob out in Sth NSW near-ish Swan hill, who have filled their yards with angled panels.

      Australia is one of the most depressing places to be around – all convinced we’re the smartest: the reality is we’re anything but.

      • Don McMillan 2 years ago

        German’s factories are gradually migrating. Productivity and the Euro have been their saving grace but lately they are under a lot of pressure. Time will tell.
        Also they import processed ore [AL, Fe etc] rather than refine so no need to have big energy industries.
        Interesting they are now importing USA shale gas. Ironically we will follow with AGL’s Victorian proposed regasification plant.

  16. Kay Schieren 2 years ago

    Get off Grid – my one person rural household cost $10.000 and I did it myself. No internal wiring – just brought in builder’s cords through ceiling and stuck power boards on them with all safety features. More secur4e than any permanent wiring. 9000w inverter and separate 12V dc power for the led lights. My lights can stay on 24/7 and it doesn’t matter. Cost over 20 years with 2xsets of AGM batteries – $50 per month. Total freedom, cheap as hell. Do it yourself! Don’t feed fat greedy ratfarts, don’t murder your grandchildren – easy to install – I am an age pensioner, and did it six years ago!

  17. Divergent 2 years ago

    Hmm, I don’t think people with existing solar will be quitting if they accepted 15 year recs; they have a thing called a contract. I’m thinking of quitting but it won’t work without lpg and solar hot water and perhaps some wood; to maintain 21st century living standards. Winter sun irradiance levels too low so need lots more panels and storage.

    • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

      I very good point Divergent (please try to remember your real name). And for Queenslands, not hard to cover your standing charges with exports, even after topping up the HW system during the day.

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