NSW slashes solar tariffs to push households into battery storage | RenewEconomy

NSW slashes solar tariffs to push households into battery storage

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NSW pricing regulator slashes feed in tariffs for solar households in an apparent bid to encourage consumers to install battery storage. The cut was justified by the fall in wholesale prices – caused ironically by the proliferation of rooftop solar.

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The New South Wales pricing regulator has slashed the value of solar feed-in tariffs in the state in what appears to be a deliberate move to push consumers to adopt battery storage, and to lock in long-term deals with major retailers.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) on Monday announced in a draft determination that the recommended average tariff – which is voluntary anyway for electricity retailers  in NSW – had been cut by 14 per cent to an average 4.8c/kWh, the lowest in Australia.

The move will affect the more than 3,000 homes that add rooftop solar in NSW each month, and gives some indication of the tariffs awaiting the 160,000 homes on premium feed-in tariffs when those tariffs come to an end at the end of 2016.

IPART justified the cut – from an average 5.6c/kWh in the past year – on the basis that wholesale electricity prices had fallen because of a decline in expensive peak pricing events.

One of the principal reasons for this fall in wholesale prices is the proliferation of rooftop solar PV. IPART says solar PV has helped reduce the number of daytime peak pricing events in NSW and helped lower the average level of peak demand by 8 per cent.

This graph below shows the fall in peak demand over the last five years, during which time the solar PV market has boomed.

ipart output

But while solar households are having their tariffs cut because of falling wholesale prices, there is no sign that lower wholesale prices have been passed on to the general consumer. Retailers simply increase their margins on the “retail” component of the business to offset the lower revenue they get from their coal plant and other generators. All major retailers have increased their margins significantly in the past year.

Indeed, when one regulator tried to force utilities to pass on lower wholesale prices to consumers – in South Australia a few years ago – the dominant retailer in that market threatened to pack up and leave. The authorities promptly caved in and prices in that state have since been deregulated.

But in NSW, IPART suggested that if solar households were feeling aggrieved by the cut in tariffs, then they shouldn’t be fussed.

Firstly, it argues that the tariffs are not really that important, because most electricity produced from solar panels are consumed by the household and not exported to the grid.

Then, it infers, if the owners of solar households are really angry about the situation, then they should just install battery storage.

“The uptake of battery storage will make it possible for PV customers to use more of the electricity they generate to meet their own needs,” it says.

Indeed, that is exactly what is expected to happen when the premium FiT finishes next year. It could result in a fierce battle between big and small retailers, and the providers of home energy management systems.

And in another extraordinary conclusion, it suggests that the FiT is also less relevant because of the move by leading retailers to offer products such as power purchase agreements, and their push into battery storage.

“These new products will make solar PV accessible to a broader range of customers, and make it possible for PV customers to use more of the electricity they generate to meet their own needs,” IPART says. “The structure of some of these products may mean that traditional feed-in tariffs become less relevant over time.”

The treatment of solar tariffs is a point of controversy in Australia. IPART, like other pricing regulators, treat individual rooftop solar systems as thought they were large centralised generators, like coal-fired power stations.

Solar arrays are credited only with the wholesale price and some savings on avoided transmission losses, while their asset as a key component of a distributed generation market – which virtually everyone concedes is inevitable and less costly than a huge grid – is ignored.

Solar advocates argue that the tariff for rooftop solar exports should recognise the other attributes of the technology – not just its ability to reduce wholesale prices, but its ability to defer network upgrades by lowering peak demand, and its environmental benefits, including its ability to force out coal-fired generation from the grid, an attribute recognised last week by the WA energy minister Mike Nahan.

In the US, solar households are paid the same as the retail price for electricity (known as net metering), because it is argued that if the grid is used less, then they should pay less.

There is a push by US grid operators to protect their revenues, but in Minnesota, the regulator recommended only a minor reduction from the retail rate, while in Maine an independent study found that solar brought such benefits the feed-in tariff should be nearly three times the retail rate.

In Australia, the networks – many of them state owned, as they are in NSW – protect their revenues fiercely. Even though electrons from one solar household to a neighbour travel a distance of just a few metres, the network charges are the same as if they were transported from one side of the state to the other.

This, obviously, is an artificial construct – those costs are only there because it is written into the rules by the regulators themselves. It plainly does not cost as much to transfer electricity from one consumer to another – those electrons will simply flow to the neighbouring customer.

But the rules allow the retailer – who might pay 4.8c/kWh for excess solar output from one customer – to sell it to the neighbour for nearly 10 times as much (46c/kWh) in the afternoon peaks.

Clearly, if a consumer was to sell the electricity himself, it would cost him no more than the price of an extension cord over the fence. That has safety, and other, issues but obviously there can be other more effective solutions – such as micro-grids and virtual net metering – that can meet the same goal. By erecting higher walls, the regulators, at the urging of the incumbents it should be noted, are simply preparing for a bigger fall.

NSW is not the only state to cut its tariffs. It has occurred in all other states. Just last week, the tariff in Victoria was cut to 5c/kWh from 6.2c/kWh, also due to the fall in wholesale prices caused by rooftop solar.

The new Labor governments in Victoria and Queensland have promised reviews to ensure a “fair price” of solar. The new director-general for the department of energy in Queensland is Paul Simshauser, the former AGL economist who once labelled solar household tariffs as a “scam”.

states feed in tariffs

As Simon Hackett, the chairman of Australian battery manufacturer Redflow, told RenewEconomy this week, if the regulators cut the price of feed-in tariffs, then the response of the consumer is simply to say: “I accept”, and install more storage.

This will be a significant issue when some 230,000 households in NSW, Victoria and South Australia lose their premium tariffs next year, and it is a prime consideration for anyone installing new solar. Installers report that at least half of all inquiries are about battery storage.

In another interesting note, IPART also says that if the tariff were raised any higher, then the retailers would “lose money” and be less attracted to solar customers. This appears to be an implicit recognition that solar customers would be discriminated against by retailers, which is contrary to the rules of the market.

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  1. Zvyozdochka 5 years ago

    In my head I imagine crisis talks at the Energy Supply Association, but they seem completely clueless. I think I’ve figured it out however Giles, they’re checkmated.

    Their own behaviour in manipulating distribution costs up and now attacking solar will accelerate the change and they know it.

  2. trackdaze 5 years ago

    If you can export to the grid @ peak times you should get a premium. At other times 4.8c is about the going rate for generators.

    Though I suspect that many will despite economics not yet being in favour of storage will go down that path kickstarting the storage industry.

    • RobS 5 years ago

      Yep, its time to get rid of solar tariffs and simply use smart meters to pay solar producers the current wholesale market spot price, that way if the coal plant down the road is getting $1/kwh on a hot january day at 1pm so is the rooftop solar owner.

      • trackdaze 5 years ago

        Solar advocates need to start looking at it in this way. Why would a energy company want your energy at a greater price than it can buy on the open market. Yes granted green energy should and is encouraged by certificates and polluting energy should (but isnt) pay for its pollution.

        The days of high Fits as compensation for high capital costs are over. Solar is much cheaper and better now. It stands on its own.

        The battle ground is fixed costs. Its important that these psuedo govermment enterprises be brought into the solution especially with the coming wave of phev’s and full electric vehicles about to bring high single digit increases to growth in the power sector.

        • Rockne O'Bannon 5 years ago

          I really like your comment here.

          I see the utilities as simply calling the solar owners’ bluff. I think solar owners believe that a battery is going to solve their problems, and the utilities think they will be rid of a big headache when customers go off grid.

          They are both wrong.

          They would both be better off if they had been able to cooperate from the beginning and split costs and benefits a little more rationally. All of the people who built huge systems just to get the FiT will now have to figure out what to do with all their extra kilowatts. And it will involve fixed costs, as you say. And once a rate payer goes to all that trouble of buying an EV, they won’t be going back to the utility. So the utility will watch some good customers disappear, and the solar owners will have to incur some steep costs.

      • Chris Fraser 5 years ago

        Smart meters should enable virtual net metering. Which means we should be able to either consume it, store it or sell it on an open market using our power of choice.If that market is truly open, and the impact of PV export on a local network is measured accurately, it is the most effective way to reduce wholesale prices … and never be the subject of review for a “fair price for solar” ever again.

        • RobS 5 years ago

          Yep, i think that needs to be the ultimate goal, a fair and level playing field for all players; industrial generators, rooftop generators and home storage. No more biannual reviews, no uncertainty about FiT’s stopping and starting influencing paybacks just a fair market based mechanism for everyone.

          • Ian 5 years ago

            5c, 6c, 10c/KWH , small change, the pennies do not count in this scenario compared with the cost to import electricity. We are barking up the wrong tree fighting this pathetic FiT. What we should be negotiating-for instead is unlimited export access to the grid in exchange for the miserly FiT the retailers are offering. What I mean by unlimited access is both quantity of power exported and timing of export. There should be no questions asked of the exporter as to where the power comes from or how they generated it only the KW driving the export meter. Ultimately we want a proper electricity network. Karl Marks may be an anachronism and he may have caused untold misery to the people of Eastern Europe and much of Asia but he said one very useful thing: from each according to his ability, to each according to his need – sharing. Just as people in the past wanted to have freedom to buy electricity as much as they liked and when they liked and the power companies endeavoured to supply that need, now with the advent of cheap solar and soon battery storage, people want to sell electricity. They want the freedom to sell it in quantities and at times suitable to them. The utilities are exactly that – utilities. An instrument created to support the needs of people. Somehow they have lost their way and think people are ” consumers” instruments to make them money. Government regulators have one major concern regarding electricity supply and that is its reliability. For them to accept the reliability of the widespread adoption of distributed generation of intermittent renewable electricity created by numerous independent moms and dads with solar panels on their home roofs and lithium batteries in their garages as opposed to gigantic coal powered generators steadily and reliably pumping out electricity 24/7 as they have done for the last century is a big ask. Small steps people! Negotiate unlimited access to the electricity network in exchange for next to nothing on the FiT and see what happens. If we are right and distributed renewables can stand on its own numerous feet and out compete the old fossil stalwarts then we can start negotiating a more equitable market driven tariff structure, smart meters and the like. We need some negotiating tools in this process. Our strongest Hand is reducing our reliance on the grid. If we want equal access to the grid then we need to show that we don’t actually need the grid at all. Here are some ways to create independence from the electricity grid: 1. Storage. Our mate Elon across the ditch may help us with that, but don’t totally rely on him, look what happened to his rocket recently. 2. We don’t really need to store energy in the form of electricity in batteries, energy can be stored in the form of heat or cold – hot water heaters with storage, ice storage refrigeration. 3. Smart loads can reduce the amount of storage needed, simple time of use to match intermittant supply, DC pool pumps with dedicated solar panels can run when solar power is produced, totally separated from any grid tied solar set-up. 4. The use of energy saving lighting at night . LED to be exact. 5. Insulation of houses . 6. Community endeavours, such as solar powered LED street lighting or bulk buying of electricity by a community with possible suburb owned large scale battery storage AKA zinc flow batteries. There are other negotiating tools that could provide a lot of entertainment watching the utilities squirm: by providing political pressure, by socially conscientious investing or by crowd funding or community funding of complimentary energy technologies such as wind farms and hydro/ pumped hydro solutions, by work place pressure to install large solar systems on business properties, by pressure on local councils to install LED street lighting and suburb distributed battery storage systems, water reticulation storage tanks with intermittant pumping and other ways of creating smart loads on a suburb or city-wide basis. Not unlike Governor Stevens of the Reserve Bank who only has one weapon in his war on economic collapse , namely interest rates, the utilities only have their rates and tariffs to keep their business model going, we the electricity users have dozens of weapons at our disposal. let the games begin!

          • Ian 5 years ago

            Here’s the thing with street lighting. LED street lights are roughly 2 to 3 times the price of HID but use about 1/3 to 1/2 the energy. For example a 400W HID lamp can be replaced by a 140 W LED. The cost of the LED lamp is about $400 to $500. The energy savings 0.26KW x 12 x 365 x $0.20c = $ 227 a year. Two years to pay the lamp off with an estimated 10 year life. Each lamp would save the equivalent of 1/2 a tesla powerwall electricity every night or the average daily output of a 0.75 KW solar system ( magically) storing its energy at night. If an area like the Sunshine Coast installed 20 000 LED street lights at a cost of $10 Million they could save the equivalent amount of electricity as their planned 15 MW solar farm, of which the price of the land alone would be in the order of $ 20 Million. The electricity saved would be at night when rooftop solar is fast asleep. What a smart electrical load ! A perfect match. No need to beef up the poles and wires to export all that domestic solar away in the day and import dirty coal power at night. C’mon Giles How’bout LED street lights as a feature article hey?

          • Ian 5 years ago

            Sorry to harp on LED street lighting but a quick search on this topic brought up ironbark sustainability they claim that Australia has 2.3 million street lights. That is roughly 80 to 400 W per light burning for 12 hrs at night. They claim 80% energy savings converting to energy efficient fluorescent or LED. 2.3 M x 100 x 12 x .8 = 2.2 GWH storage equivalent could be saved. Ie 220 000 tesla 10 KWH units. Modest but probably worth while, certainly enough to take the wind out of coal’s sails! Pity the street lights are owned by the electricity networks.

          • Jacob 5 years ago

            The new street lights on the Hume Motorway overpass (where the motorway is above Cooper St) are probably LED.

            There should be a 500% tax on Sodium-vapor lamps to stop new streets from installing them.

            However, I do not want them banned because I believe in free markets.

          • Rob S 5 years ago

            A free market is a market economy system in which the prices for goods and services are set freely by consent between vendors and consumers, in which the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government, price-setting monopoly, or other authority.

          • Jacob 5 years ago

            A 500% tax is less intervention than a total ban.

          • Rob S 5 years ago

            Makes it a regulated market but hardly a free market

          • Jacob 5 years ago

            Ok if you prefer a total ban instead of a 500% tax on “inefficient” products.

          • Rob S 5 years ago

            It is not what I prefer.
            I am simply pointing out that if there is a tax on something (ie government intervention) it cannot be a free market. So you actually believe in regulated markets rather than free markets.

      • Finn Peacock 5 years ago

        this is what Reposit power does – although you get a 100c FiT for the peak events whether they are $1 per kWh or $14 per kWh. But it is a start

      • Rob S 5 years ago

        And if the spot price is -$1/kwh the consumer should be paying that as well?

        • RobS 5 years ago

          I don’t think people should be charged $1/Kwh for all power used at peak times as that would punish users who have little discretion like people with medical equipment etc, I do think that people who run discretionary loads at peak times like water heaters, AC units etc should be charged for it. Peak demand is only 5-10% above the demand on a typical day and only lasts a few short hours, but billions of dollars worth of generation and distribution capacity has to be installed and maintained to service it. Time of use billing only has to shave a few percent off the top of peak demand days or give people an incentive to shift demand either side of the peak by a few hours to save the need for billions of dollars on grid investment.

  3. Rob 5 years ago

    The total cost my household is currently charged for electricity is approximately 40 cents/kWh. That includes supply charges and GST on top of “time of use” rates. So they’re going to take the energy we produce with our solar system and pay us 4.8 cents for every kWh we send them, then sell those kWhs back to us for 40 cents/kWh. ( We are on a gross metering system so none of what we produce is directly used by us). It might be time to take a serious look at the alternatives!

  4. Tim Forcey 5 years ago

    5 cents per kWh for exported electricity… why that is less than the cost of gas. So use excess solar PV electricity to generate hot water – either with a heat pump as described here https://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/get-more-out-of-your-solar-power-system-by-using-water-as-a-battery-26228 or even with a simple resistive-electric water heater (if you have heaps and heaps of excess solar). Doing this will be cheaper and more efficient than gas (where there is always some amount of heat lost with the flue gases). An electric storage-tank hot water heater is the cheapest energy storage battery you can get.

    • Doug 5 years ago

      I am building 2 of units for persons with a disability. I am installing 8Kw of solar. I am using this project at Mk2PV to detect grid feed & redirect it to the 2 hot water systems. This is a plugged option, & will feed 2.4Kw elements so it can be run from a 10A power outlet. It takes about 10KwH for average hot water for 3 reasonable people!
      I will be installing battery backup later. Also the panels are installed on E & W roofs to flatten generation curve.
      It is now cheaper to install more PV (about +1 or so KW more), then use a smart switch (as above) to heat water with grid feed than to install the old classic ‘wet’ solar HWS. the MK2PV supplies household loads first, then the excess to hot water. Commercial switches are now available for ~$800+ install.

      • Neil Frost 5 years ago

        Google bolt on heat pump. I just got one and it seems very good. It has a 10 amp plug on it and pretty easy to hook up.

  5. Neil Frost 5 years ago

    One more reason to do what the utilities want us to do and leave the grid.

  6. Cooma Doug 5 years ago

    I have been reading your thoughts for a few years. The future of the energy industries has been predicted by you in that time with more accuracy then most. As the months role on we mentally tick some box here and there with your thoughts evolving as suggested. I have pulled out some ideas from the past that were laughed at by my peers just a couple of years ago but now are taken for granted.

    It would be interesting to look back in simple detail to a few years ago when the NSW peak was 14,000 GW. The talk then was ” the sky is the limit”.
    Wind will never do 5%. “Solar is a joke”.
    “We cant do it without coal”.

    The main and simple reasons that those claims are ridiculous are still denied and or not understood by too many.

    We need to take the conversation to the home side of the meter and talk about load side awareness and management. I think we need to talk about what is possible now, accepting the fact that there is enough renewable energy and the technology to capture it and do the job with no coal. We don’t have to prove this any more.

  7. Mike R 5 years ago

    Hi Giles,

    I believe you may be incorrect when you refer to the closure of the Premium Feed in Tariff in Victoria. According to what used to be the DPI website administering the various feed in tariffs, now http://www.energyandresources.vic.gov.au/energy/environment-and-community/victorian-feed-in-tariff-schemes/current-feed-in-tariff , there is no change mooted to this scheme, but what is currently available to new entrants, referred to as the ‘feed in tariff’ will be reviewed, as well as the old ‘standard feed in tariff’ and the ‘transitional’ feed in tariffs … Confusing, yes and a legacy of policy on the run quite possibly!

  8. Isuzu 5 years ago

    Might be a great opportunity to share power with a neighbour…. A few good neighbours getting together can be very beneficial for all

  9. David Apperley 5 years ago

    I am a little disappointed in the slightly biased view portrayed in this article. I am a renewable energies student currently studying full time, hence I am all for renewable means of electricity generation. However, the statement that “Even though electrons from one solar household to a neighbour travel a distance of just a few metres….”, is not necessarily correct. Firstly, during peak sun hrs, the house just “metres away” may well be generating its own PV electricity ,therefore not need the excess. The excess may well be required many kilometers away in a commercial factory that is operating during the day. Therefore a maintained grid is required. Secondly, even the graph in the article shows that when PV is generating its peak, this is not the peak time for energy use, hence at peak times, the grid is required to supply electricity to homes as the Output from PV has dropped due to a falling sun ( peak times for residential is approx. 4 -till 10pm when there is little or no sun).
    Anyway, not a very well worded document, but I’m sure you get the gist of it.
    other than that I enjoyed the article.
    P.S- And residential battery storage is definitely the way forward for households serious about saving on their energy costs- has been since about 2010 when the 60cent deal was scrapped.

    • Giles 5 years ago

      I appreciate your concern, but unless you can find a street several kilometres long with EVERY household exporting solar from their rooftop, then you estimate does not hold. The penetration rate for rooftop solar in NSW is just 12 per cent, so that is unlikely.
      As for the peak, I think the graph makes pretty clear that it has been reduced. As in South australia, the size of the peak has been trimmed, the timing of the peak and the length of the peak has also been changed, with the result there is much less extreme peaking prices. This has helped lead to the reduction in wholesale electricity costs, and provided peak benefits, which as you correctly point out will be increased with the addition of battery storage. I wonder how the utilities will tailor the tariffs then?

      • Reality Bites 5 years ago

        Giles, David actually has a valid point as the typical early adopters of solar were those with interest and money to buy systems, so typically in more affluent suburbs. More lately it is self funded retirees that wanted to eliminate/reduce running costs. Therefore the generalisation that it is only 12% across the state or 1 in every 8.3 houses in a street, is not necessarily correct and clusters do exist. The reality is that the grid does exist and the current AER/AEMO control as legislated by State and Federal governments, means that the cost is spread amongst the users, including rooftop solar generators. To install storage and be truly off the grid will also be a financial decision that many will not be able to make, rather, they will install perhaps one or two storage units and reduce the peak demand, which will be good for the network, but will mean the grid will still exist. The other factor will be EV’s, which are I believe on the verge of becoming mainstream. Unless you have the ability to install a very large array and even more storage, it simply will not be possible to eliminate the grid.

        • Giles 5 years ago

          I don’t think anyone is suggesting eliminating the grid, although many individuals will cut themselves off. I dined the other day at the home of people who spent $36,000 for 7kW of solar and battery storage, completely off-grid, lights ablaze, no issues at all through winter.
          The problem with the grid is its pricing. The networks were allowed to spend $45 billion building a bigger and dumber grid in last five years, and look like they will do same again, as regulators kick demand response and efficiency down the road another five years. That will load up another $10 billion of un-necessary costs of consumers. Why should they pay for it if there is a cheaper alternative – off grid,micro grids, virtual net metering.

          • Reality Bites 5 years ago

            I suggest you will find that the AER has not just kicked the can down the road, they have slashed the 2015 – 2020 revenues which will mean that Utilities will need to think carefully about what they spend. As you know most of the utilities have already instigated demand and efficiency management, which is really a result of economic focus, now amplified by the cuts. If I took a survey of your typical reader, they would not just like to eliminate the grid but terminate with extreme prejudice. Anyway nice to stir them up occasionally!

          • Giles 5 years ago

            A lot of readers yes, because they reckon they getting screwed by the utilities, which they probably are.
            The AER essentially called out the networks on their ridiculous WACC estimates, wanting near 10% cost of capital when interest rates are so low. I mean, really.

          • Reality Bites 5 years ago

            Yes it is all a big plot ……….. by the Federal and State governments! However the WACC was definitely not ridiculous. Do you know that the Commonwealth Bank WACC is estimated to be 8.09%. How risky is a power utility in the current market compared to CBA? I guess that Mike Baird will get a sense of that when the EOI’s are in for the NSW power assets. Endeavour Energy’s WACC is now set at 6.68%, sure reduced from 10.02% but that was set in 2009. It is not the utilities fault that the AER previously set the WACC for a 5 year period, but anyway not so ridiculous.

        • Doug 5 years ago

          The grid: When storage is more common, the grids will be more local. Much of the grid cost is in HV Transmission lines.
          I agree they will be common quickly. I already own an Imiev, great for local trips. The 400Km range car is here, but will become cheaper in time. I was at the Community Energy conference last year, where it was said the grid could easily accommodate the charging network for EVs. Personally, I think the revolution for Electric vehicles (as in Traction) will be in Mining & Agriculture. Imagine a tractor, computer & GPS controlled that can interchange implements & dock itself for charging, running relatively silently 24H/day. Now add an Alternative energy Generator (Solar, Biogas, Solar Thermal etc) to run the farm & you have a huge energy resource. (Turnkey systems already available) Excess generation can be grid fed. This ties neatly with the EV Highway Charging station model.
          Viva la Revoluion!

          • hydrophilia 5 years ago

            I think that we will find that smart-charged electric vehicles will be able to provide load leveling services, charging when there is excess PV or there are few customers for the base load generators (late at night). This could further ease congestion on the grid and ease any need for a beefier one.

          • Rockne O'Bannon 5 years ago

            This load leveling effect will be a long time coming.
            One could also argue that solar would be better off used to offset “air-conditioning” peaks during the sunny day, and that cars should be charged at residences at night. As things stand now, a lot of baseload power is wasted at night, so charging EVs at night makes more sense in a lot of ways.

            I am a non-Aussie watching this breakdown between utilities and solar owners, and I have to say it is a darn shame because a whole lot of money is going to be wasted on batteries and people going off-grid, where a little more reasonable behavior all around would be a lot more efficient.

      • David Apperley 5 years ago

        Giles, I think what I was trying to point out is that the Peak demand for residential does not occur at the same time as the Peak in solar output, therefore the excess PV generation needs to be transported via the grid to Peak locations ( ie: commercial premises) These locations may be more than “a few metres away” therefore a Grid network and the maintenance of it is essential. Without a maintained grid, what happens at 6.00pm in Winter when residential peak demands are high? Am I taking too much of a simplistic view?

        • Giles 5 years ago

          As i said before, no one is suggesting no grid, just a properly priced one. and a regulatory system that encourages micro grids and virtual net metering, demand response and energy efficiency rather than just more poles and wires and bigger transformers. As you suggest, winter peak is a residential peak. so the electrons from solar panels are going next door, the commercial people have already gone home (cos they now using cheap solar on the roof to manufacture during the day rather than paying night rates to use off-peak).

    • David Osmond 5 years ago

      Hi David, I realise you said that peak time for ‘residential’ is approx 4-10pm. However it is worth noting that the peak 30 minute time period for the NSW grid, for the last 3 years has been 4:30pm on 18/1/13, 5:30pm on 20/12/2013 & 5pm on 21/11/14 (all times in daylight savings time, end of 30 minute period). At all these times solar PV would have been producing well. So for the overall grid, PV has helped reduce peak demand in NSW. But you are probably right that it probably hasn’t helped reduce peak residential demand.

      • David Apperley 5 years ago

        I would be interested in the Residential Peak times, as I would think the figures you’re quoting are TOTAL grid load peaks. Also, I note these figures were taken at the height of summer, therefore hardly reflective of the majority of the year. My point was that when PV residential is at it’s peak, residential demand is not, therefore the excess may need to travel large distances to be consumed…. Hence we need a maintained grid, and if the NEM? need to charge to cover costs, then so be it. I have been educated from this thread and realise that the charges may appear unfair to some sectors ( residential in particular), however I have not heard of a reasonable alternative to cater for peak loads across the sectors ( well perhaps except residential who have the option of Battery storage).
        Obviously this discussion could go on forever 🙂
        Thanks for the education

        • David Osmond 5 years ago

          Cheers David, yes my figures were for the total NSW grid. And I agree, they probably don’t match up with residential peak. So I wasn’t meaning to suggest that you were wrong, rather I was trying to indicate that PV is helping to reduce NSW peak demand, which generally occurs in the summer afternoons when PV is quite productive. My figures were for the largest peak each summer (which also happens to be the largest peak across the year).

  10. john 5 years ago

    With out a doubt battery take up is on the way.
    I notice the long term trend average for NSW generating price is just under 4.8c so the offer of this seems a little bit thin.
    As soon as battery install reaches some 25% in line with increased PV install then the evening peak will start lowering.
    At that stage I fully expect Demand Charge ” to be rolled out.
    I would just love to be selling battery backup 10 good years to look forward to.

    • john 5 years ago

      Price trend NSW

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