Taxpayers lose $9 billion to solar

Solar power systems are costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

Taxpayers lose $9 billion to solar

Despite Australia having the highest per capita number of photovoltaic (PV) solar systems of any country, solar power systems are costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

According to a report from the Grattan Institute titled Sundown, Sunrise: How Australia can finally get solar power right, since 2009 the total cost of installing and maintaining 1.4 million household solar installations around the country has been $9 billion greater than any benefits accrued.

Since 2001, one in six Australian households has had solar panels installed on their roofs, due in part to rising electricity costs, greater environmental concern and the accessibility of government subsidies. However, the government has since cut back its financial support. The report estimated that by the time subsidies have ceased, households and businesses that have not made the shift to solar will have subsidised usage of the network for those that have by more than $14 billion, through electricity charges.

Tony Wood, Energy Program Director at the Grattan Institute and one of the authors of the report says, “If we want fairer, cheaper cleaner electricity we've got to get on our bike and really get this whole reform process back on the rails again.”

Read more at Australian Financial Review.

Opinion: Still the only way forward

If Australia had taken immediate action when the time was right, it would have been a world leader in clean energy by now. There was a window of opportunity, which we didn’t take and now we’ll always be playing catch up. Yet, solar power has a great future in Australia and we still have the chance to plant our flag in the ground of solar manufacturing.

There’s no question that coal power is a force of the past, dwindling in popularity and support. As in all revolutions, the old ways must die for the progressive ones to thrive. More and more people are seeing the light when it comes to protecting the environment, seeing the undisputable benefits of adopting clean and sustainable ways of living.

When you consider the Treasury figures from last year, which show that the tax breaks on capital gains and superannuation were to cost more than $60 billion, investing $14 billion to start up a sustainable energy industry is justifiable. 

Don’t be fooled by the figures either – solar has been found to be increasingly beneficial in cutting carbon emissions and energy costs for homes and businesses. With optimal location installation, homeowners save hundreds of dollars each quarter.

There needs to be a stronger regulation of networks so that consumers do not pay for excess infrastructure. As it stands, countries such as China and Germany are ahead of us in terms of development, infrastructure and installation. What we sorely need are manufacturing and development companies, right on our own soil. This will boost our domestic industry and create new skilled employment opportunities.

In addition, competition among companies to supply power to customers, as well as regulations on responsible practices, should also be encouraged. Additionally, according to the Grattan Report, changes must be made to the way households are charged for their use of the power grid to avoid inefficiency and inequity.

Clean energy is the only way forward; it’s time we did it properly.

Have you installed solar panels on your roof? If so, what has been your experience? If not, why have you avoided doing so? Do you think Australia can do more to maximise its investment in solar energy? Would you be prepared to absorb the set up costs in the short term to ensure a better long term future?






    COMMENTS

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    Simo
    26th May 2015
    10:33am
    The Australian Government should raise the Rebate on Households and biusinesses installing Soalr Power Generation and chager mer taxon the Coal Fired Gererators to get theat money back, or make the genortors of Electricity rent the Roof Space off the Property OWNERS and install P V. PAels on all rooof tops in Australia there would be more than enough Power GENERATED BY THE SUN this way and then the Power from the grid would supply the Nation at night only .
    KSS
    26th May 2015
    1:12pm
    More Government handouts simmo at the expense of the taxpayer? The only 'rebate' should be for the electricity fed into the grid and then only paid at the usual wholesale rate. If people with solar panels don't like that, then they can invest in storage batteries for their generated excess and remove themselves completely from the grid. Many went into the use of solar panels in the hope of making money, and for those early adopters they have done just that. Don't you remember the squeals when the rebate was reduced?
    Increasing tax on the Coal fired generators will not recover the cost from the generators. No it will be from your neighbour whose electricity bill will increase to cover the tax. The same neighbour who for one reason or another is unable to install their own solar panels.
    Wstaton
    26th May 2015
    1:32pm
    OK lets take concession handouts further. Remove Super concessions cost to the taxpayer multi billions per year, remove fuel concessions to big business, cost to the taxpayer billions per year etc etc etc.

    Makes the cost of the solar panel concessions $9b over several years trivial in comparison.
    Paulodapotter
    26th May 2015
    3:22pm
    At long last, the yobbo intellect is beginning to realise they were duped into supporting the removal of the Carbon Price. KSS has the vision of a newt and the deductive capacity of a minnow. Why is it the development in technology is seen as an advantage to the few at the expense of the many? This is the blight of conservativism. Electricity bills will rise with the cost of infrastructure which is a massive impost of the fossil fuel industry. Renewable energy, by its definition, requires less infrastructure and therefore less cost over time. Come on - get with it KSS!
    Radish
    26th May 2015
    3:27pm
    People still on the grid are subsidising those with solar panels; is that fair?
    Anonymous
    26th May 2015
    3:31pm
    Other way around, Radish. People with panels - unless they installed them many years ago under different agreements - are virtually giving power to the grid and paying extortionate rates to buy it back, after spending thousands to install their panels. Electricity companies are able to sell to those without solar at lower prices than they otherwise could because they buy power so cheaply from those who generate power through solar.
    Radish
    26th May 2015
    4:28pm
    From a newspaper article two days ago.

    "By the time premium feed-in tariffs end - Queensland's scheme runs until 2028 - Australians without solar will have paid about $5 billion extra on their electricity bills. They have paid a further $5 billion as a result of federal government subsidies to solar from the Renewable Energy Target. Add a third subsidy that is embedded in the structure of network tariffs, and people without solar PV have spent $14 billion subsidising those who have"
    KSS
    26th May 2015
    9:26pm
    Paulodapotter, your rude and insulting post says far more about you than it will ever say about me. Given I have made no comment as yet about renewable energy you have no idea what my thoughts may or may not be on the subject. In future please do not judge me by your small mindedness and abusive view of things you know nothing about.
    MICK
    27th May 2015
    7:31am
    KSS....or is it Frank: the reason the previous government offered the sweeteners for solar was to kick start the industry. It happens all the time when governments try to induce business to invest so why do you demonize average Australians for taking up the same.
    Whilst I do not disagree with your proposal you conveniently fail to mention that solar owners are being duped by the coal industry and the big resellers who are already lining up to pay households 1 cent a Kw and then sell it back to them for 50 cents a Kw. Funny that.
    I welcome storage batteries. It is coming. After that big coal will die....as it should have until the current coal owned government came to power and turned back the clock....Whilst the rest of the world continued to move forward.
    Do yourself a favour: go to Greece and see the large arrays of panels on farming land. Incredible really. Also, go to Germany and check out the wind farms everywhere.
    People like you and your government are what are dragging this country down. And you wonder why I keep calling for voters to VOTE FOR A GOOD INDEPENDENT WITH A LABOR PREFERENCES. At the very least this will rid us of this business owned government intent on slugging battles with as many taxes as it can whilst piling money into the bank accounts of the rich at every opportunity.
    The difference between us is simple: you serve the interests of the rich and I serve the interests of the nation as a whole.
    Sceptic
    27th May 2015
    10:20am
    In what way do you serve anybody other than your own interests mick. Please give examples of this service.

    As for Solar panels, I installed solar panels not for feed-n tariff, which was 8c per Kwh and is now 6c per Kwh, but to use solar power when it is being generated during the day. By the way, the current charge is 32c per Kwh Peak and 14c per Kwh off-peak - all a long way from our 1c feed-in and 50c charge as you quote. Another example of your never mind the truth, listen to me?
    Adrianus
    27th May 2015
    1:03pm
    mick, I hope you are taking notice of this article by Drew. But alas, still in denial. pft.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2015
    7:43pm
    For the paid comment above: we all understand that the coal industry and its coalition funded government are worried about renewable energy. Real worried.
    Whilst we get the continued Murdoch propaganda through the Australian and Courier Mail the reality is that solar is getting cheaper every year and lithium storage batteries are already here. Storage batteries have halved in price in the past year and solar is heading towards film panels. There has already been an around the world flight with film solar.
    To the trolls I again say GO TO GREECE to see the arrays of solar panels on farming land. Huge. And then GO TO GERMANY if you want to see windmills in overdrive. Clearly trolls only regurgitate what their employers want them to but even you guys cannot stop an unstoppable force, no matter how much coal money pays for you and many other despicable Australians to spew out their lies.
    Amelia is correct. The superannuation shelter for the rich are despicable and this money should be channelled into what will essentially be free energy once hardware is paid for. The coal industry is terrified!!

    26th May 2015
    10:46am
    The Grattan Institute, being a far-right-wing think tank, would have us all continue to rely on coal, oil, and all the companies associated with power generation - so all their Big Business mates can wallow in fat profits, from all that mining and power generation activity.

    One things for sure, the Grattan Institute would have left a lot of important factors out of the renewable energy equation, because it either suited their agenda, or because many factors are difficult to measure accurately.

    We installed solar panels in June 2011 and they have made a large difference to our power bill. Of course, a generous contract to supply feed-in power back into the grid helps us.
    But that's not the major reason we went for solar panels - it's the fact that we are reducing our pollution footprint - and because the advances in battery technology to come, will make it highly likely we'll be able to go right off the grid in the next few years. The Tesla battery is just the start.

    There's no doubt that there are currently major imbalances in power generation setups and renewable energy payments and solar power contract schemes.

    However, the bottom line is that we must be very aware that big business is eternally interested in harnessing us to expensive and outdated systems, and locking us into large payments to all the huge companies that want to suck money out of us forever.

    The sun and wind and water movement are all freely available to provide enormous cheap energy at very low cost - it just needs constant pressure applied to ensure that we don't get stuck with outdated technology, constantly promoted by Big Business, that literally costs us the Earth.
    Mamacrystal
    26th May 2015
    12:17pm
    Aaron you are completely right about the Grattan Institute.... take their findings with a large pinch of de-politicized salt!!
    MacI
    26th May 2015
    5:11pm
    Far-right-wing or not they make the valid point that in terms of bang-for-buck and inequity these solar on roof top schemes have been a disaster. See my later comments as to why I think this is so. The money would have been much more effectively spent on larger scale renewable energy systems.
    Adrianus
    27th May 2015
    3:23pm
    Aaron I agree with part of your comment. It's the left ideology that has people running in circles and getting excitably stuck in yesterdays technology in order to appease people who make the wealth like Al Gore.
    World Prophet
    28th May 2015
    1:01pm
    Although I was one of the ones who installed a system (5 kW) when the big feed in tariff was on offer, it's always bothered me that the one thing solar can't do is provide base load power. It's about time that the cost of installing single household co or tri generation comes down, as this runs 24/7 and CAN replace base load. Let's focus on that instead.
    wondering
    28th May 2015
    2:23pm
    it's always amazed me how much greenies love trains which, in Australia, have ALWAYS been coal powered both steam and electric.
    Wind, solar, wave etc are NOT free and they will NEVER supply the base load required for a city like Sydney or any one of a thousand other cities on the planet.
    I was a huge supporter of Greenpeace right from the beginning, until they started lying, as in their recent photos of 'the Great Barrier Reef'.
    Carbon dioxide is not a dirty word, or two, I believe trees love the stuff.
    We have cheap coal and we could have had cheap nuclear power if we hadn't wasted so much money on relatively untested and very expensive alternate energy crap.
    Wstaton
    26th May 2015
    10:54am
    It is disgusting that users of renewable energy are virtually paying old technology for it to survive. Let it die this old technology is a burden holding us back.

    Abbott, I do not know where he comes from in this regard. But Mr. Tony I have seen this before where politicians try to hold on for no apparent reason. One wonders why.

    But again Mt. Tony It will die history has shown that progress cannot be stopped however people like you try and stop it.

    It is gratifying to see that the advent in new battery technology is slowly eroding away part of the bar to complete solar parity sustainability. The latest report of a consumer in Queensland who says he has not had a power bill in six months since this new technology was installed. Rave on sustainability.

    People power is taking hold people are thumbing their noses at Abbott and will continue to as more and more install solar panels against all odds.

    This government spouts on about we need to use our technical and research expertise in making us a technological giant yet is abusing part of this by denigrating the one of the directs that should be able to make us achieve this. Whose side are you an Mr. Abbott.
    brainstraina
    30th May 2015
    12:47am
    Our Prime Minister is attempting to get our country back into the black. More than some other issues on the planet I am most afraid of the black hole in which we are now wallowing.
    Some inroads have been made; but not nearly enough and the left will not allow it to happen. The left doesn't want to acknowledge the huge and ever growing debt and continues it's chant spend and give, spend and give and if you're not spending and giving on demand, then you must be giving it to the big end of town. What rot!
    It is the so-called 'big end' which creates most employment.
    The Prime Minister is mainly concerned with the economy; without a healthy one of which we will become a third world country. You surely understand that Mr. Abbott has much more on his plate than our little gripes and beliefs.
    And yes, I had solar panels installed in 2011 and yes I had to borrow for same. It was a hardship at the time. It came about because I had little understanding of alternate means and this option was the best I could do. Not everyone is so knowledgeable as yourself. However my power costs now are negligible.

    I am open to, and welcome any new technologies which are affordable by the economy.
    Travellersjoy
    26th May 2015
    10:56am
    I don't think this looks like a genuine comparison which includes all costs and all benefits of solar against alternatives.

    If governments pulled their fingers out and created o proper development plan for solar, I am sure the equation would change radically.

    In the meantime the "invisible hand of the market", us, is doing the job of saving wealth, and saving our planet.
    Wstaton
    26th May 2015
    11:01am
    There is one other thing. Solar power is slowly putting the power in the people where it should be. I suspect this is what people like Abbott and the big polluting part of town are most afraid of.
    maelcolium
    26th May 2015
    10:59am
    I read the Grattan Institute report and found their numbers very confusing. I don't understand how maintenance of private solar panels is a cost to the public purse. I cant find a summary of where they costed the externalities or the infrastructure upgrades negated due to solar growth. The other costing missing is the benefit to the generators for cheap power they buy from the households.

    I think this is more like a think tank report produce to set a particular agenda. If industrial nations like Germany can successfully convert to solar then it should be a cake walk for sunny Australia. All that's missing is the will of the political elite, but that's not in their DNA.
    Wstaton
    26th May 2015
    11:04am
    We should also remember that the appointees to these institutes and think tanks are mainly staffed by appointments by the government so they favourable to the government thinking.
    Anonymous
    26th May 2015
    12:30pm
    Very true, maelcolium and Wstaton, you get what you PAY FOR, and, again, here's a good example of the prepaid-for goods being delivered.
    Paulodapotter
    26th May 2015
    3:13pm
    Glad to see there are few people who are a wakeup to this report commissioned by the coal lobby, of which the government is a subsidiary.
    Hasbeen
    26th May 2015
    11:42am
    It is really a pity that most of the people who write for a living were too thick to understand math or science. This

    If they weren't so lacking in the ability to add 2 +2 they would be able to understand that solar & wind are dead end technologies, & can never support modern civilisation. This lack of understanding makes them sitting ducks for the smarties who have jumped on the renewables band wagon, profiteering on this new Y2K con job.

    If they even opened their eyes they would see the Germans, who actually lead the world in renewables have finally woken up. They have realised they are destroying their economy with the rubbish, & are now building no less than 12 very large coal fired power stations, & cutting their foolish subsidies. Even the Poms have just passed a law making it effectively impossible for any more on shore wind farms to gain planning approval.

    I do hope we can wake up before we actually destroy our welfare state with green stupidity.

    I do
    Paulodapotter
    26th May 2015
    3:10pm
    Where on earth did you get this rubbish from?
    wondering
    26th May 2015
    3:30pm
    Thank god, or should I say 'hasbeen' for some sanity.
    Whoever wrote that obscenely biased 'Opinion' didn't bother to point out that the $30 billion of 'potential' tax 'wasted' on retirees who won't be getting a pension, could have been off set by increasing GST, or cutting back some of the $30 billion plus wasted on 'renewables' Which is ALL spent overseas. At least most of those nasty superannuants spend most of their money in Australia.
    The money wasted on wind and solar could have gone on clean coal OR Nuclear Power, which is also developoing and supplied us with CONSTANT and affordable power so that maybe we could re develop some secondary industry in Australia
    Anonymous
    26th May 2015
    3:35pm
    Obviously you are a ''hasbeen'', Hasbeen - with no knowledge of modern technology or its benefits.
    Radish
    26th May 2015
    4:36pm
    Did a bit of research myself Hasbeen..quite an eyeopener :)
    Anonymous
    26th May 2015
    10:19pm
    Hasbeen, your shares in coal companies are showing in your comments.
    Germany is only building 12 new coal-fired power stations because Merkel closed 8 nuclear power stations immediately after Fukushima.
    It wasn't possible to produce the amount of power required, via solar and wind power, immediately, to replace the large output of 8 nuclear power stations.

    Germany is still the largest solar panel producer in the world and it is still building huge windfarms to provide power.
    However, the newer windfarms are located in the German part of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, to improve wind turbine efficiency.

    As of June 2014, Germany had 628MW of wind turbines in operation.
    By 2030, they plan to have windfarms producing 15000MW for the German power grid.

    If a nearly 24-fold planned increase in windfarm investment by the Germans is a "realisation they are destroying their economy with the rubbish", then you have some strange interpretations of figures and aims.

    http://www.offshore-windenergie.net/en/wind-farms
    Wstaton
    26th May 2015
    10:58pm
    True Arron and one of those coal fired power stations was started to be built 10 years ago before the surge in renewables started. It took 10 years to build. Half way through building it was realized that it may be redundant but they had spent to much on it and had to solder on. Now it is hardly online as the area it was built in (Hamburg I think) was to well supplied by renewable power.
    Jen
    26th May 2015
    11:45am
    I'm no expert but my feeling is that we need to switch regardless of cost because we have to stop pulling stuff out of the ground a) to stop pollution and b) before it all runs out. It's not a bottomless pit in there. But the sun, the wind, the sea, will always be there and it's free. No brainer really. As is becoming the norm, Australia continues to lag behind.

    26th May 2015
    11:53am
    Australian residents are amongst the top ten countries in the world using solar power - varying from around number 8 to number 5 depending on whose chart you refer to. The solar rebate scheme was a Labor government initiative (good or bad? you tell me) with very low interest rates on loans to buy and a have panels installed. The choice was everyones' at the time to take advantage of the offer, but some, without the foresight or with greater priorities elsewhere, chose not to get them. The idea that non-solar power users are now subsidising those households with panels is one which I very strongly refute and think is pure rubbish. Show me research that proves this beyond a doubt. This is only sour grapes from those without panels who missed the boat and now have to wear it. Bad management rather than bad luck this time.
    Wstaton
    26th May 2015
    12:11pm
    Agree Fast Eddie,

    I am waiting for the day when I can buy a completely independent solar power system. Not only for the clean energy (See how Morwell suffered and the Latrobe Valley will continue to suffer) but that it will remove me from the grasp of the big business. No worrying about prices going up. As far as I am concerned. I would then cut any connection to the grid saving on the standing charge which you bet will continue to go up. This then would make solar even more affordable and give complete independence.
    KSS
    26th May 2015
    2:20pm
    Wstaton you could do that today if you really wanted. or are you waiting for someone else to pay for it for you?
    Anonymous
    26th May 2015
    3:41pm
    I suspect it's true that those who installed solar under early agreements are receiving subsidies paid for by other Australians. Conversely, those who installed more recently are clearly subsidizing those who don't have solar, because the rebate for solar power to the grid is a tiny fraction of what consumers pay for power.

    As for your statement, ''the choice was everyone's at the time'', Fast Eddie - that's an arrogant and contemptuous claim that is clearly ridiculously flawed. There are many valid reasons why people may not have been in a position to install solar at particular points in time. Just one example: Defense families generally rent and have no security of tenancy - nor even security that they will be able to stay in a home they purchase. Lots of other employees face similar challenges. There a dozens of other reasons why people's choices may be restricted.
    Anonymous
    26th May 2015
    3:45pm
    Rainey, you mention defence families - were they conscripted or was it their CHOICE? Where is the flaw, pray tell?
    Anonymous
    26th May 2015
    4:19pm
    There are ALWAYS choices in life - be they good or be they bad. It is up to the individual to choose which one, or none and let fate make the decision for them. A great deal of your future is in your own hands. Winners make it happen, while losers let it happen and then complain.
    Radish
    26th May 2015
    4:39pm
    I doubt the electricity companies will want too many leaving the grid...they will go broke.
    Radish
    28th May 2015
    9:45am
    Friend of mine a lady in her early seventies; lives in a two storey town house. Had the solar man out and said (for her) it was not economically viable to put on solar. He did himself out of a job.
    Wstaton
    28th May 2015
    11:53am
    Gee a honest businessman. He probably thought she would not live long enough to get a return on her investment.
    brainstraina
    30th May 2015
    1:07am
    Fast Eddie. You mention 'very low interest rates on loans to buy and install solar panels'.
    I wonder whether you personally experienced these 'low rates'.

    My rates on the buy and install cost an arm and a leg; there was no access to a low rate back in 2011.
    However; my power costs are now quite minute and I am happy with the outcome.
    jennyb
    26th May 2015
    12:15pm
    I've got a 1.5kw solar power system and solar hot water too. Wouldn't be without them. Not only huge savings in power bills (I only take from the grid what I can't produce myself ) but using a renewable energy that isn't ripping the crap out of our living earth is a good feeling too. SOLAR ROCKS!!
    AlbertC
    26th May 2015
    12:23pm
    thats good jeny as long as you are not on the pension because if you are the money you save in power could cost you on your pension
    Wstaton
    26th May 2015
    12:26pm
    Not sure how saving money affects ones pension. You can save money by buying cheaper food but it doesn't affect your pension. What's the difference?
    Magpie
    26th May 2015
    12:32pm
    How is that AlbertC? I am a pensioner and wondering how it works? Are you referring to winter concession or rebate (if any) from grid. Much obliged.
    in2sunset
    26th May 2015
    3:01pm
    Totally incorrect AlbertC... what a load of rubbish - saying 'could cost you your pension'....stop scare mongering. I obviously assume you do not have solar power? I scrimped and saved, worked 2 jobs, and bought a system - I have not paid a power bill in 3 and a half years. And I HAVE spoken to Centrelink, and got my facts right.
    Wstaton
    26th May 2015
    3:12pm
    Quite right,

    Anything that is fixed to a house becomes part of the house. A solar system is fixed thus becomes part of the structure of the house. The house is not assessable as an asset
    brainstraina
    30th May 2015
    1:14am
    The installation of solar at my home has not affected my Age Pension in any way. I scrimped and sacrificed though; but that's life.

    I too have paid very little for power in the past 3 years.
    melaleuca
    26th May 2015
    1:23pm
    What the Grattan Institute report is leaving out is the cost to the taxpayer of the current energy supply from coal burning power stations. Let's have a look – first there is the cost in mining coal – a cost in energy used, subsidies for petrol to transport the coal, the cost of the transport itself, the cost of building and then decomissioning power stations, the cost of maintenance of these power stations, labour costs, the ongoing cost of coal supply, not to mention the high cost to the environment of a dirty industry. 60% of energy is lost in relaying power from the station to the city so already we have an inbuilt inefficiency cost.
    then of course there is the cost of providing and maintaining power lines. Compare this to the alternative solar solution. Provide solar panels to households across Australia. Transport of fuel costs and supply costs – zero. It comes from the sun. Maintenance costs to the taxpayer – zero. The householder will maintain the panels. Cost to the environment – zero. Blind Freddy could see the advantages. A pity the government can't.
    Anonymous
    26th May 2015
    10:33pm
    Spot on, Melaleuca, Don't forget the power station fiascos such as Colin Barnetts W.A. Liberal Govt absolutely blowing $250 MILLION of W.A. taxpayers money on fixing up a buggered old power station that was so rusty, nearly everything in it had to be replaced!!

    Of course, the open-ended repair bill for this buggered power station just kept on exploding - like trying to repair a rusty old Holden that has been dragged from the sea after 30 years!

    Barnetts wasteful exercise on trying to rejuvenate this sorry mess of a power station is typical of the Liberal mentality of ensuring that we stay with old technology, where Big Business mates have a huge investment!!

    If any Labor Govt blew $250M straight down the drain on a pet project, the Liberals would be savaging them on a daily basis!!
    But Barnett and his spendthrift mob get away with blue murder, and a huge amount of OUR MONEY, just pouring good money after bad, on his mates power station business!!

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-20/call-for-an-inquiry-ino-muja/4769270
    Mike
    26th May 2015
    2:25pm
    Solar panels are becoming more and more efficient, and are clean renewable energy. Get rid of the politicians and political bickering and get on with it.
    The report that says solar panels are costing taxpayers billions is a lie.
    Paulodapotter
    26th May 2015
    3:04pm
    It's trips off the tongue so lightly doesn't it without taking into consideration the trillions of dollar benefits it provides and will provide into the future. Already, solar energy is making it into the hovels of the poor who had previously no chance of being able to afford even a single light.
    Wstaton
    26th May 2015
    3:16pm
    Yep,

    I saw the report how it is helping in India.

    26th May 2015
    3:28pm
    "There’s no question that coal power is a force of the past"" - Tell Tony Abbott!

    We installed solar. It cost $8000, and it's the best investment we ever made despite the unfair charging system that sees us paying 38c per kwh for power and receiving only 6c per kwh for what we generate. We generate more than 5 times what we use, but still pay about $80 a quarter after the low-income household discount is applied. Our next step will be to install batteries, because the service-to-property charge is extortionate and the payment we receive for the solar we generate is absurdly low in proportion to what we pay for power at night and on dull days.

    The Government needs a change of attitude to power if we are ever to maximize the benefit of solar power, but solar has brilliant potential and we should be making maximum use of the sun to generate clean, cheap, efficient power.
    wondering
    26th May 2015
    3:40pm
    who wrote this rubbish?
    ALL the developed and even developing countries get most of their energy 24/7 from Nuclear Power [ eg France around 70% ] THIS WOULD supply a 'better long term future'.
    How dare you imply that superannuants are a burden on society they are a significant contributor to the only industry we have left, local tourism.
    Anonymous
    26th May 2015
    4:40pm
    Yes spot on wondering Nuclear power seems the way to go and your also correct about the superannuants most spend their money and help keep the economy going not like the pensioners who are unable to provide for themselves and have to receive welfare and are a burden on the Government and the rest of Australia.
    Paulodapotter
    26th May 2015
    5:36pm
    Germany got rid of its nuclear power stations. Many countries opted for nuclear before renewable energy became an option. Those countries such as France, are so locked into nuclear that they will have a lot of difficulty getting away from it until of course there is a major disaster. It's just a matter of time.
    wally
    27th May 2015
    12:27am
    Paulo, the nuclear accidents you hint at were caused by human error. Chernbyl was especially so, while the Fukushima nuke plant was built in the wrong place. Japan is susceptible to both earthquakes and tsunamis, and like New Zealand, should not have nuke plants. I am waiting for the other nuke plant disasters you appear to relish dreaming about.
    Laser51
    27th May 2015
    2:19pm
    "not like the pensioners who are unable to provide for themselves and have to receive welfare and are a burden on the Government and the rest of Australia."
    Robbo...when you drive on a highway or over a bridge...or plug something into a power socket, don't forget all those pensioners that paid taxes all their working lives to create the infrastructure that so many continue to enjoy.
    wally
    26th May 2015
    3:43pm
    I signed up to have six solar panels installed on my roof about a week before Kevin Rudd decided to cancel the $1500 rebate. That was because so many took up the offer and the allocated funds had almost run out. I was also eligible for a state government rebate, which reduced the cost of installing the solar panels even further.

    I decided to take up the offer because it was becoming increasingly obvious that the price of electricity was not coming down any time soon. This was also before any announcement was made about further rebates that would be applied to actual electricity bills/ running costs per Kilowatt hour.

    The only problem I had with the arrangement was when the "inverter" decided it didn't want to collect anymore sunshine and feed the "particles" into the grid anymore. Luckily the inverter was still under warranty, so I sent it off to the manufacturer to be fixed. It came back and I reconnected it in a week. It is now out of warranty

    Presently I am in credit when I get the electricity bill. My home is not connected to any gas outlet and I am happy with the situation so far. The only thing I worry about is whether my home contents insurance will buy me a new inverter if the one I am using packs up. I regard all the yelping and complaining about the solar panel scheme as so much sour grapes.

    Homeowners all had the opportunity to apply for the installation rebates when they were offered. If they chose to sit on their hands and do nothing, they have themselves to blame.
    Adrianus
    28th May 2015
    4:35pm
    Only problem wally is that the poor pensioners who couldn't afford the cost of installation are subsidising your "free" electricity by paying higher bills.
    Don't know what you paid for the inverter or if it is considered as an "item left in the open" by your insurer but it may pay to get it listed on your policy?
    brainstraina
    30th May 2015
    1:25am
    Wally. Your installer should have replaced the inverter free of charge as mine did. A new inverter was installed and the old one taken away - never to be seen again. This, all within one week and I reside in country Victoria(200 km) from the city.
    Patriot
    26th May 2015
    4:11pm
    Geothermal power is a "Proven Resource" in Australia and, once the power station is built, is "Non-Polluting".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_power_in_Australia

    A station is claimed to be efficient for about 100 years and then needs to be "Shut Down" so that the rocks can Heat again for re-utilisation in another 100 years.

    Solar could (is) be used to level the "peak of Demand" during those summer days when aircon is absolutely essential in offices & Factories (if we have still some manufacturing left in the future that is!).

    I had recently a 6 kw system installed and receive only $0.08 cents per kW for my export.

    I find it very insulting/rude that this price is not parity as we - the consumer - pay about $0.85/day for the infrastructure which allows delivery to our homes.
    SO, IT IS PAID FOR BY US !!!!!.
    Unfortunately, we are NOT allowed to utilise this "Same Infrastructure" for "Storing" the excess electricity produced during the day to be used at night!

    I would think it to be fair for us to receive 6 or 8 cts/kW for the electricity we consume after the (TOTAL Import - TOTAL Export) sums have been done and we TRUELY produce more electricity than we have consumed in TOTAL.
    Whilst this is fair for us, it would distract from the profitability of the electricity retailers though.
    As they are in the Politician's pockets, this will never happen!
    Radish
    27th May 2015
    8:29am
    That is indeed the problem Patriot. The storage overnight of what you have produced during the day. The new batteries (recently in the press) are quite expensive but will no doubt come down in price.
    MacI
    26th May 2015
    4:13pm
    The overly generous subsidies paid out to encourage the installation of solar panels on roof tops has been a horrendous waste of money and partly responsible for the increase in electricity prices. The subsidies paid out are in effect cross-subsidies from those who don't have panels to those who do and in general from the less wealthy to the more wealthy.

    Until there is a cost effective means of storing the electricity generated most of what is generated is wasted because it is produced outside of peak load times. Most people have no idea of how much of the electricity generated by their solar panels can actually be used. I did my own research and calculations prior installing panels on my roof to match my consumption and usage pattern with the size of the system I would install. I opted for a 1.5KW system and even with this relatively small system I still feed roughly a third of the power generated into the grid and I get 50c per KWH for this. Given that my wife and I are retired and are therefore occupying our home most days when the power is being generated by our solar panels I reckon that in terms of actual consumption we would rate quite high compared with other households. When I observe houses with their roof covered with panels it really irritates me because I know that most of what is being generated is being fed into the grid to be wasted at a return of at least 44c per KWH to the owner if installed under the rebate scheme where I live. For a 3KW system this would return about $1200 per annum and a 4KW system about $1900 and it's the consumers who don't have panels that pay for this.

    These rebate schemes were ill thought out and subsidies should have been much more limited, perhaps according to the electricity that could be consumed. To be sure improved battery technology when available at a cost effective price will allow these panels to be more cost effective and I will likely add to my array of panels when this time arrives but as a community (or at least those without subsidised panels) we will be paying for this folly for years to come. I think in Queensland until 2024!

    Even now that many of these rebate schemes have closed down because they are economically unsustainable people are being ripped off by companies flogging solar systems. My bother-in-law who lives on his own and works 5 days a week signed a contract for a 10KW system after being convinced by the salesman that he would never have an electricity bill again. This of course was rubbish because the sun is down when he gets up in the morning and when he arrives home in the evening. Fortunately he called me for advice and was able to opt out of the contract under the cooling off provisions.
    Wstaton
    26th May 2015
    4:33pm
    I had a quick look at the Queensland electricity rebate system as the 44cent rebate seemed quite startling. It is quite true and the cost was paid by all electricity users. What a mess. Whoever dreamed up this system should be shot. I find it stupid that the electricity suppliers weren't even paying partially for this considering that they were receiving the benefits. I also understand that new the rate will drop to 8cents and the suppliers will pay.

    Politicians again.
    MacI
    26th May 2015
    4:53pm
    Wstaton - I got one of my facts wrong - in Queensland the payments for the 44c feed-in tariff ends July 2018 for those who were lucky enough to sign up prior to the scheme closing in July 2012. The Queensland Competition Authority produced a report on the scheme in 2013 in which it estimated the cost by the end of the scheme in 2018 would be $2.9 billion. It also estimated that in 2015-16 the average cost to the average Queensland electricity bill will be $276.

    It is the electricity generators in Queensland that pay out the feed-in tariff which of course is then passed on to the consumer. The 8c per KWH feed-in tariff has since been removed and it is now up to the consumer to negotiate the payment with their supplier - typically about 6c is on offer.
    MacI
    26th May 2015
    4:58pm
    Oops - typo. I meant the scheme ends the 44c feed-in tariff in July 2028, not 2018.
    Wstaton
    26th May 2015
    5:06pm
    KCI,

    You say that the 8c feed-in charge is passed onto the consumer. I fail to see what is wrong with this unless the 8c is applied on to of the normal charge if the electricity was wholly supplied from the electricity companies generators.

    If this is the case then the companies as far as I see are rorting. They get electricity at 8c and resell it at say 20c kwh probably the same as that supplied from their generators.

    Considering the 8c they pay is probably less than it costs to produce it from generators they are definitely rorting.
    MacI
    26th May 2015
    5:25pm
    Wstaton - I'm not sure I understand your comment. I'm merely stating that consumers who installed solar panels after the 44c per KWH feed-in tariff scheme closed in 2012 only received 8c per KWH for electricity fed into the grid. The 8c per KWH pricing was arrived at by the Queensland Competition Authority who looked at the real value of the electricity fed into the grid. Perhaps they got it wrong. I'm no expert but I understand that it's one thing having a supply of electricity but since it cannot be stored unless there is an immediate market it is worthless.
    carmencita
    26th May 2015
    7:38pm
    the problem is , not everyone can afford to have solar panel installed, but the irony is that those who can not afford to have one, are the one's paying for the network for those who have. How fair is that? No argument to have clean energy, but make it fair. Those who are enjoying the benefit of not paying for their electricity because it is covered by rebates for having solar panel installed should pay for the benefits.
    Wstaton
    26th May 2015
    8:04pm
    Sorry, but you are wrong here. Everyone is paying for the network. The network is covered by the service charge that is paid by everyone irrespective whether they have solar or not.
    Even if someone who has solar power and does not use any electricity from the grid they still pay this charge by the fact they are connected to the grid which they have to be in order to supply the feed in.

    So lets not keep saying that people without solar are paying more than those who have.

    On the other hand everyone pays the same amount. So it can be said that those who are frugal on electricity usage are subsidizing those who use two, three times or more electricity.
    Paulodapotter
    26th May 2015
    8:54pm
    Absolutely correctd Wstaton. People who have no sense of conservation cost the rest of us who have dear. However, education, not beration is the key. It's an absolute nonsense the logic that those who have are taking from those who haven't. Exploitation is the deliberate act of taking from others through immoral acts to feather one's own nest, much like politicians do to ramp up fear of terrorism to herd the sheep behind them, though the chance of being the victim of terrorism is half the risk of being struck by lightning (had to sneak that one in somehow :)
    wally
    27th May 2015
    11:54pm
    Yes Paulo. Are you suggesting that the Lindt Café murders in Sydney's Martin Place were caused by our politicians for their own benefit?
    Jen
    28th May 2015
    6:30am
    I wouldn't be surprised, indirectly. This government is creating fear and loathing towards Muslims in Australia which in turn creates alienation and anger in certain susceptible individuals. But it's good for the polls. Nowhere but in Australia could that be good for the polls. :(
    Patriot
    28th May 2015
    7:15am
    Paul, Wally & Jen,
    Neither would I be surprised.

    The following article provides some more insights into the assumption (???) how fear rules our country.

    http://honesthistory.net.au/wp/lawrence-carmen-fear-and-politics/
    Adrianus
    28th May 2015
    9:18am
    Are Muslims installing solar? Well that's gotta be a good thing right?
    MacI
    28th May 2015
    5:59pm
    carmencita - I'm with you. All of the rooftop solar schemes pay a feed-in tariff way more than the standard tariff charged by the electricity suppliers so it follows that the difference between the feed-in tariff and the standard tariff needs to be paid by someone. Whether it is the network charge or the tariff rates or both that are impacted it still means that all consumers are impacted but those with solar panels are offset by a extremely generous credit for the electricity they feed into the grid.

    People who installed panels under these schemes saw a good thing and invested. Good luck to them.
    Wstaton
    28th May 2015
    6:41pm
    Why do we always get half the story here.

    The feed-in rates vary from state to state. The various governments set the minimum rate suppliers cannot go below. Some stats don't have a minimum and it is up to negotiation between the supplier and the energy company.

    Examples of rates minimum and that paid.

    Victoria 8c paid 8c not surprising that energy companies don't pay more than minimum.

    SA 6c Min 6c Paid

    QLD 6.53c min 6.53c Paid for regional Queensland.
    Where the 44c is applied is a muddle and a mess but appears to be part of the SBS scheme which certainly put an impost on everyone. Striving to get it down to 8c
    Companies like Origin add 6c making it up to 50c

    NSW no minimum but origin appears to pay 6c. In the past it would appear that the rate was much higher.

    KCI you should state that you live in Queensland where they are out of whack with the rest of Australia who certainly not paying over the rate which means that they are not being subsidized by other electricity users.
    MacI
    29th May 2015
    8:22am
    Wstation - The schemes in some other states are even more generous. Those lucky enough to sign up in Victoria prior to the scheme ending in Dec 2011 are paid 60c per KWH until 2024. In NSW those who signed up prior to 27/10/2010 receive 60c per KWH until Dec 2016. In South Australia things are more complicated but essentially customers who signed up prior to Sep 2011 receive 44c per KWH until 2028. While these schemes are now closed to new customers they continue to be an impost on the price of electricity.
    wally
    31st May 2015
    12:43pm
    Jen, the Muslim loonies do not need any government assistance in creating an atmosphere of anti Muslim fear and loathing in the wider Australian community.

    If any government politician created a policy whose end result would be the one of "Fear and Loathing" against the Muslims, it would have to be the Labor Prime Minister "Kevin 07" when he opened the floodgates to allow self proclaimed (but nobody actually proved or disproved their claims) "refugees" to stream holus bolus into Australia for 6 years, including the renowned People Smuggler "Captain" Emad, for example.

    So once again, one man's ego and self interest causes unnecessary cost and worry to the Australian people. Thank You very much, Mr, Rudd!
    Adrianus
    31st May 2015
    1:06pm
    I see what you mean Patriot and Jen! So that would be why Labor are quick to hose down any concern, because it could advantage the government. "Man Haron Monis was not a terrorist" for example.
    Good Lord!! I just had a horrible thought. Do you suppose that if Labor gets back in we will see a lot more terror attacks???? Is that the reason Labor teamed up with Captain Emad? Is that why the Captain was given clear passage out of Australia? He seemed to be able to come and go when Rudd was PM.
    Patriot
    31st May 2015
    3:54pm
    Frank,
    Can you explain please how my name became involved in the Muslim Crap?????
    Davymac
    26th May 2015
    8:41pm
    Time that governments/Wholesalers/retailers paid a fair price for electricity returned to the grid. 8 cents a KW is thievery. If we must pay 35 cents per KW surely we are entitled to at least 17.5 cents KW. In this way Solar becomes more cost efficient.
    Paulodapotter
    26th May 2015
    8:55pm
    See? A real example of exploitation.
    Patriot
    27th May 2015
    7:51am
    Davymac
    Especially so since we're paying for the "Transmission Infrastructure" already via the "Daily Service Charge.
    Abby
    29th May 2015
    7:07am
    Davymac Agreed

    I cannot imagine anybody to be putting solar panels on the roof to make cheap electricity for the electrical companies ... with very little benefit for the consumer especially if they are away through the day.
    Adrianus
    29th May 2015
    8:16am
    In most businesses a refund (outside of consumer protection laws) is at cost plus a handling charge of 10-20%. Not sure where you get the 17.5% from? I would think a fair and reasonable refund would be wholesale cost less 15%.
    Wstaton
    29th May 2015
    9:19am
    I don't feel that feed-in tariffs can be considered a refund. The solar panels are generating a product. (i.e. electricity) The homeowner is then selling that product to the generating companies.

    Whether the 8c is a reasonable return on investment for the product is another thing.

    I tried to get the cost of producing 1kw of electricity but could only find it from US. I guess it is a rough guide.

    Converted it would appear in USA that it costs AU12cents to produce 1kw from a coal fired generator. So what does this mean should the generating companies pay this for feed-in tariffs. To be fair though, one would not expect them to pay more than this from solar panels certainly not the 17.5 or more some people expect. If they were forced to they would simply stop accepting feed in's as it would be cheaper just to generate their own.

    One should also consider that that feed-in is only available during the day. All this does is reduce the load on their generators at a time when the demand may not be particularly high. But I would suggest that the reduction in laod does not correspond to a saving of 12cents to them as the machinery is still there and has to be maintained. So in all we may consider that the 8cents may be fair.

    Considering that if 12cents generating cost compared to the price to the consumer then they are making a fair old profit.
    bartpcb
    27th May 2015
    11:22am
    We can see where this conversation is going! "People with solar power have been subsidised by the people who have not. Therefore the government 'in the interest of all those tax payers without solar panels, will DECREASE the amount they pay the 'persons with solar panels', so the cost to those without will not have to be increased as much as intended'. Another right wing government slight of hand (deception).
    Wstaton
    27th May 2015
    12:04pm
    It would appear that people are looking at this the wrong way.

    The government subsidized the installation of solar panels. Money to do this was provided out of general revenue. This revenue is derived from taxes paid by all Australians including those who have solar panels. It wasn't added to the electricity charges (or shouldn't have been).

    This subsidy was to encourage people use renewable energy and to great businesses and jobs (Which it did) Now this government wants to stop all this by denigrating renewable energy. an reducing the forecasts.

    Fortunately the majority of Australians are poking there finger at this government as shown in a recent survey where 87% supported solar panels and only 23% supported Coal fired generators and 26% nuclear. Nuff said here.

    The feed in tariffs in most states (Queensland seems to be out of whack as usual but is changing) is paid by the electricity generating companies. If this is added to the consumer price then this as far as I am concerned is a rort by them and not the fault of those with solar panels, because they are getting electricity at a cheap rate (cheaper than it costs them to provide from generators)and in reality this should reflect in a lowering of prices.

    To me if this is happening or not happening it is once again the Electricity companies who are screwing us.

    One by reducing the feeding tariffs to minor levels and two, not passing on the savings to the user.
    brainstraina
    30th May 2015
    1:44am
    Oh dear! Still on 'right wing government sleight of hand'. Puhlease. Enough already.
    Adrianus
    27th May 2015
    1:00pm
    I'm just happy to see the carbon tax gone. A tank of gas for the air conditioners has dropped from $1050 to just under $300 with the removal of the Labor, Greens, Independents, Unions carbon tax. But Bill Shorten wants to bring it back!
    If you think he is a chance in the upcoming election get in early because there will be a run on this gas which will outshine the nickel discovery at Windarra.
    Wstaton
    27th May 2015
    1:19pm
    Now Frank are you really trying to convince people that your gas dropped 71% because of the removal of the carbon tax whereas those on electricity only dropped on an average of 9%. Bit of an inflation here I think.
    Adrianus
    27th May 2015
    3:15pm
    I don't have to convince people Wstaton, they can see for themselves. This is R410A refrigerant I'm talking about.
    Wstaton
    27th May 2015
    4:15pm
    OK. Here is what was levied on the R410A refrigerant.

    The price of R410a refrigerant in 2012 was $90.58 perkg
    In 2013 it was $227.91 of this $39.68 perkg was a levy

    This has nothing to do with the carbon tax and has been in existence since 1989

    The reason for the price increase you should read this.

    https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/actrol-parts-pty-ltd-to-pay-520000-for-carbon-tax-related-false-or-misleading-representations

    Where a major supplier increase the cost per kg exorbitantly blaming the carbon tax for the increase.

    According to another Government report it says the saving on the carbon tax removal for an average system is.

    For a domestic split system air-conditioner this is a saving of $83

    Once again the carbon tax has been blamed for the rorting by businesses and suppliers.
    Adrianus
    27th May 2015
    7:02pm
    Your point is that the carbon tax was only a 43% increase in the price.
    My point is that the carbon tax was mainly responsible for the massive price increases.
    You could argue that GST was only 10% when introduced but you cannot argue that prices increased by much more. I know of items I purchased regularly that increased by 15%-25%.
    Wstaton
    27th May 2015
    8:24pm
    Not much more to say about this the facts speak for themselves. if you say that your price dropped from $1050 to $300 when the carbon tax was removed then you are saying the carbon tax part was $750.

    Let use the electricity effect of the carbon tax. Coal fired generators are one of the worst polluters creating masses of carbon dioxide int the air. The carbon tax is applied on the amount of CO2 spewed into the air yet with these companies the carbon tax was applied at about 10%.

    So applying this to you refrigerant payment this means your carbon tax component of the $1050 would be around $100.

    You don't seem to have read the article on the massive rort by the company mentioned where they massively inflated the price blaming the carbon tax.

    Also simple maths and commonsense would say the reduction you mentioned is beyond believe.
    Adrianus
    27th May 2015
    11:09pm
    I read the article. The company was fined $520k.
    During the Rudd, Gillard, Rudd, era the government had a canny nack of fostering a dumb obedience type of behaviour, not only in their work colleagues but also in members of the public. The tax was a part of the increase the rest was made of dumb obedience and greedy opportunism. That company fined by the ACCC could almost plead entrapment.
    geomac
    27th May 2015
    3:49pm
    According to the reasoning of those who claim solar is at the expense of those without solar I wonder what their opinion is of govt funding for private schools ? I somehow think that quite a few would justify that funding though its an expense born by taxpayers who cannot afford it. Thats a choice of those send their offspring to those schools and unlike solar is not a cost saving measure for them. It takes away money for public schools and singles, childless couples as well as parents who choose not to or cannot afford it subsidise them. Solar is the present and the future and renewables is the way to bring down power prices as shown by even the Abbott govt review though not what they wanted to see.
    MacI
    28th May 2015
    4:48pm
    According to the following article published in The Age (http://www.theage.com.au/comment/why-funding-private-schools-is-a-smart-idea-20140203-31x70.html) which references the "Productivity Commission's Report on Government Services 2014" federal and state/territory combined fund $15768 per public school student and $8546 per private school student. Therefore it can be reasonably argued that private schools actually save tax payers money. This is one of the many half-truths that get told by both sides of politics. It is true that the federal government spends more per private student than public student but it is also true that State governments spend much more per public student than per private student and this is funded by the GST raised by the federal government. There are a couple of misconceptions about private schools: One is that only rich parents send their children to private schools - not true - we sent two of our children to private schools and it was a struggle for us financially. Another is that private schools have the best facilities that money can buy. This may be true for the elite private schools but not for the majority.
    MacI
    28th May 2015
    5:32pm
    Further to my argument in the foregoing. If governments did not fund private schools, albeit at about 54% of funding for public students, we would not have been able to send two of our children to private schools so we would have added two more students to the public school system at almost double the cost to the tax payer.

    As for subsidies for solar panels if the feed-in tariff for the various schemes was paid at a commercial rate, i.e. the real value in the market place then there would be no cross subsidising required. I note that a number of commentators in this forum reckon that they should be paid for the electricity they feed into the grid at the same rate they are charged by the electricity suppliers. But they fail to understand that electricity is not a commodity that can be kept on the shelf until a buyer comes along - it needs a customer in real time otherwise it is wasted and the problem with solar electricity is that it is generated outside of peak times when the bulk of the customers need electricity. The Queensland scheme for example pays 44c per KWH while the normal tariff is about 28c inc GST. Once the scheme closed the Queensland Competition Authority determined that 8c per KWH was the 'real value' of electricity fed into the grid. The point is that regardless of whether you use 28c (and therefore are working on the assumption that all of the solar electricity fed into the grid finds a customer) or 8c per KWH the difference between the feed-in tariff and the actual value of the electricity needs to be paid by all customers including those without panels. A large proportion of the households without solar panels are occupied are by families on low incomes.
    geomac
    28th May 2015
    7:55pm
    KCI
    No matter how you frame it the same argument applies to private schools as does solar panels etc. You can slant it anyway you like and the opposite can be used to rebut it. Private school fees despite govt largesse go up every year above the CPI. To use your market place reasoning where is the real value ? No mention of the fact that renewables is and will continue to drive down prices in the long term. Premier Baird has taken a strange position arguing against lower tarriffs for NSW customers to increase the sale price of NSW utility assets. All customers to the grid pay for the grid regardless of usage of power with the supply to property charge which I assume is poles and wires maintenance.
    If there were no private schools there would be no need or applications for funds for them. All schools would have been built to accommodate the needs of the population. Australia is alone amongst OECD countries to fund private education to such an extent or at all. Increased funding seems to have aligned with our diminished standing/ratings in education. So solar or education arguments can be used lots of ways depending on ones viewpoint.
    Kaz
    28th May 2015
    3:48pm
    Just keep wondering, wondering, ignorance is bliss...
    Davymac
    28th May 2015
    7:56pm
    Did invest $10,400 for 4.2 KW system. But with the reduction proposed for return to the grid I very much doubt that SOLAR is cost effective.
    Adrianus
    29th May 2015
    8:38am
    I agree Davymac. And it wont be until storage technology is better and cheaper. What's the point in having the lights on during the day while you're away at work? Will somebody tell the Labor/Greens party.
    Hello? The lights are on but there's nobody home!!!!
    Wstaton
    29th May 2015
    9:46am
    When did you install your system Davmac.
    MacI
    30th May 2015
    7:08am
    Davymac - If your 4.2KW system was on my roof in Brisbane it would generate an average of 17.6 KWH per day. We are able to use about 4 KWH per day from the electricity generated by our 1.5KW system and we are a retired couple so the house is occupied during the day. Based on the Brisbane tariffs of 28c per KWH for electricity from the grid and approximately 6c per KWH feed-in tariff then your pay back time would be 10400 / (4 x 0.28 x 365)+(13.6 x 0.06 x 365) = approximately 14.7 years. As the standard tariff goes up then the pay back time will come down but it will still be a very lengthy pay back period. If you were lucky enough to get 44c per KWH for your feed-in tariff then the pay back time would be about 4 years. After the back back time, under the Queensland scheme, you will receive about $2200 per annum from feed-in tariffs until 2024 when the solar scheme has finally run its course. In addition you will get 4 KWH per day free of charge. Extremely generous!

    Until battery storage is available at an economical cost there is really no point in installing a system with a capacity greater than you can actually use. There are lots of slick solar salesmen around happy to sell you a rooftop full of solar panels without actually telling you the truth about the economics. Most people have no idea about their electricity usage pattern.
    Jen
    30th May 2015
    7:27am
    I can't follow the math because I don't really understand how it works. But our system cost us $8,500 and it's saving us around $300-$350 every quarter in power bills, far more than what we were receiving from having that money in the bank. We've had the system about 5 years so it will have paid for itself in another 18 months or so. Further more, it's renewable energy, we're not contributing to pollution. That's how I look at it. Plus we have the peace of mind that we don't have to find the money for big bills each quarter.
    MacI
    30th May 2015
    7:41am
    Jen - I assume that you are receiving more than 6c feed-in tariff. I'd be interested in the details of your system, i.e. the size of your system, the region where you live, and the amount that you are receiving for your feed-in tariff.
    Patriot
    30th May 2015
    11:15am
    KCI
    Here is a comparison from the GoldCoast Hinterland for you.
    Until 2 months ago, I had a 1 kW system with a "Parity Pricing" feed-in !?!?!?!?!?!
    I have spent many days (effort on the phone) in order to obtain the 44 or 50 c/kW but never managed as the "Beaurocratic Bungles" right through ALL Govt Agancies involved accumulated into a "Duck Shoving" exercise and, as nobody was willing to take ownership, this issue was never resolved.

    Consequently, the 1kW system was returning about $80.00 per Quarter only before it finally failed.
    Current System installed 2 months ago with 6kW panels and a 5kW inverter.
    2 Locations on the roof - 1/2 panels on north & 1/2 panels on East (involved extra cost) in an attempt to "Spread the Generated Power" throughout the day rather than "Max-Out this delivery either during the morning or afternoon". At 8 c/kW Export, the game is to "Use rather than Export" as much of the power generated as possible.

    Before this system was commissioned (2 months ago) I have seen 36kW/day being pushed into the grid! The sun was MUCH higher in the sky for MUCH longer than!!!
    My Excel spreadsheet covers the past 2 months and, with being near the lowest point "In the Sky" for the sun and a considerable number of days with "Haze or just Drizzle" during this period, the average daily generated power has been 21.2kW.

    The total cost of the system (on special) with tier1 panels & 10 years warranty on the inverter amounted to $4150.00 and so, I hope/anticipate that, even at only $0.08/kW Feed-In tariff, the system will be paid for in about 2 to 2.5 years.
    That is if the projected performance during the summer months is as anticipated!

    I believe that there are 2 secrets:
    1 Split solar panels to spread the generation throughout the day – especially when home!
    2 To make up for the inherent inefficiency introduced under the previous point, install 20% more capacity for the panels than the Max output for the inverter

    Hope this helps!
    Adrianus
    30th May 2015
    11:30am
    Jen when you follow the maths what you find is that it is much like Superannuation, in that it "favours the rich."
    Your $300 saving on power costs would otherwise cost you $447 income if you are on the average wage. The higher your income the bigger the tax break. Those on high incomes above $180,000 would benefit the most by the $300 saving by saving $545 of income. A non tax paying pensioner would have no advantage.
    MacI
    30th May 2015
    11:34am
    Patriot
    Really interesting. A 6KW system at $4150 is excellent value and splitting the panels to maximise the spread of power generation across more daylight hours is a great idea. Any idea of what proportion of the electricity being generated is fed into the grid? Certainly when the feed-in tariff for my system drops from the 50c per KWH to 6c or 8c per KWH I will be changing my usage pattern to maximise my usage, e.g. run the pool pump and washing machine later in the day.
    Patriot
    30th May 2015
    11:57am
    KCI
    Over the last 2 months 1423kWats was generated and 845kW was exported.
    The average daily output in the 2.5 weeks before commissioning was in excess of 30kW/day. That is why I anticipate excellent performance during the summer months!

    To "Split" the panels, the inverter MUST have 2 fully independent MPP inputs.
    YOU CANNOT HANG 2 STRINGS IN PARALLEL ON ONE INPUT WHEN PANELS ARE MOUNTED ON DIFFERENT FACES OF THE ROOF !!!!
    MacI
    30th May 2015
    12:12pm
    Patriot
    It looks like you are using between 9 and 10 KWH per day from your panels. That's what makes it viable. Are you running anything heavy-duty during the day?
    Patriot
    30th May 2015
    12:37pm
    KCI
    Using - as an average - 8.7kW of solar generated power during the day.
    Whilst I do never watch it, the "Idiot Box" is also always on .
    Also running 2 Fridges & 2 Freezers

    A major (largely unnecessary) drain is the Hot Water which needs cleaning of the glass very badly.
    Now that the Solar Panels are Underneath this and the Gal Iron does NOT burn my delicate "Tootsies" any more, I will soon get on the roof (should have already) and perform a maintenance on these. This is now MUCH safer for an "old Codger".
    This should reduce the "Base Load" on "Not-so-Sunny" days.

    During summer, this situation will be better of course as the "Base Load" is "Carried by Solar" for more hours per day.
    MacI
    30th May 2015
    1:08pm
    Patriot
    Have you been able to plot the power output from your system throughout the day? I like the idea of extending the effectiveness of the panels by having mounted at different aspects. Unfortunately we can't install them on our north facing roof because we are on a slope and our neighbour's house casts a shadow during the most productive part of the day. Is the north/east combination the most effective?
    Patriot
    30th May 2015
    3:21pm
    KCI
    In that way we're just plain lucky as the mounting of the panels is "Optimum" for shedding/spreading the output throughout the day.
    The "Ridge" of the roof is pointing roughly North.
    So the aspect of the panel assemblies is roughly:
    North-West & North-East

    During the middle of the day (on a clear day with the sun higher in the sky than currently) I have observed both panels contributing identical currents into each individual inverter input with the output of the inverter sitting on 5.1 kWatts (Maxed Out) .
    This is also true currently except that the inverter output is NOT "Maxing Out".

    The inverter has a graph in its display and this - currently on a clear day - shows a "Bell Curve" with the 3 hours in the middle of the day just about flat.
    During the longer days & with the sun higher in the sky (few months ago) , the "Flat Part" of this Bell Curve was about 5 hours and I anticipate (hope) that this will extend to about 7 hours during mid summer!
    Whilst the export is only $0.08, it all adds up!

    This link in brackets (http://www.solarchoice.net.au/blog/solar-panel-tilt-and-orientation-in-australia/) provides some further insight into effectiveness of output in relation to the incidence angle of sunlight.
    MacI
    30th May 2015
    3:38pm
    Patriot
    Thanks for the info. Will likely become useful sometime in the future for me.
    SJQRP
    30th May 2015
    10:21pm
    Coal-fired power stations will remain the cheapest method of producing electricity in Australia for at least the next hundred or so years, climate alarmism not withstanding.

    Solar is nice - I have solar, not for any environmental reason but, because the Labor government persuaded my neighbours to subsidise me to install it and subsidise me further
    to the tune of about $4,500 per year, with free electricity and a yearly bonus for doing nothing. My installation costs will be redeemed in another year and a bit and then it is $4,500 a year for free. I am only sorry that my neighbours didn't get solar as well - then I
    wouldn't feel so guilty about taking the money. But then, if everyone got it who would pay the subsidy?

    The stupid thing about it is that I still need a coal fired station to give me electricity at night when the sun is out!!

    A more philosophically bankrupt scheme would be hard to find.
    Janus
    31st May 2015
    6:56am
    Solar is fine if there is a high solar radiation available AND a non-toxic storage system to take advantage of it. It has the unfortunate hidden cost of being quite toxic to produce and also to dispose of the cells at end of life. It's advantages pale into marginal the further south you go.
    The need to subsidise it speaks volumes, but does not say it all. Fuzzy warm feelings, but little else.

    Simialr to recycling: it makes no environmental sense to transport small volumes great distances. It works for cities, but please don't damage our planet further by recycling plastic or paper from country areas. Do your environmental sums!!
    marg396
    31st May 2015
    2:13pm
    I am waiting to take action because I saw a documentary on TV of work being done to minimise the size while increasing the power storage of solar cells and great progress was being made. I'm not sure if there is any commercial use of this research in Australia as yet, but I'm pretty sure it's going to happen - I just hope it will be in my lifetime!!
    Not Senile Yet!
    1st Jun 2015
    8:27pm
    We need to become a Smart Country....and to that we need to invest in smart technology......maybe even create it before anyone else!
    All our Political Leaders have inferred the above more than once whilst running for election in the past!
    But what do they do when they get in????
    Give themselves pay rises...give the Power Companies guarantees on their future investments....ie a set return which in turn means increased costs for all!
    Remove investment in Education and Health in the name of cutting expenses!!!
    Dilute schemes that were put in place to assist development of NEW ideas.....remove subsidies....grant subsidies to Giant Corporations who have no vested interest in developing anything other than their profits!!!
    Really.....how can anyone believe any of the Current Party Machines about what their intentions are????
    Watching them for 50 years now.....never do what they say.....always lie to get elected.....always break their promises.....always blame the previous Government.....even when it was their own Party!!!
    Come on you lot......stop voting these Puppets into Office!!
    Vote for someone who genuinely has not Sold out!!!
    Vote for an Independent!
    The more that get up.....the less Dictatorship the Party Machine will have......perhaps they might actually start to debate some Real Policies!!!
    sirmikd
    2nd Jun 2015
    8:37am
    It may have been said before in which case I'll say it again but those people who think owners of solar panels are getting free electricity forget the initial installation cost.
    A typical break even point would be around five years meaning the rebates received will pay of the cost of installation in about five years depending on what price you are being paid for the power generated. By that time your panels will be less efficient so will not produce ad much revenue and panels may even need replacement after ten years -so I'm told.
    Anyone putting cheques in the bank have a system that generates more power than they use. More panels mean more power - That of course means more installation cost. This is the cost/benefit merry-go-round.
    MacI
    2nd Jun 2015
    9:28am
    Most solar panel suppliers warrant their panels to remain above 80% of the stated power output when new for 25 years. Not sure how you will go trying to claim on the warranty though! I reckon a supplier, if they are still in business in 25 years, will argue all kinds of reasons for their panels drop in output. Poor maintenance, trees casting shadows, faulty wiring, faulty inverter (inverters don't have anywhere near 25 years warranty) are a few I can think of.
    Patriot
    2nd Jun 2015
    9:32am
    Economical Solar Storage
    http://tinyurl.com/lxaahso
    MacI
    2nd Jun 2015
    11:58am
    Exciting
    Adrianus
    2nd Jun 2015
    1:16pm
    At $3,500 it is not quite there but yes it is exciting. It's interesting that car dealers are seeking law changes to stop Musk from dealing direct to the public.
    Australia is also a country which has too many gatekeepers pushing up the price of consumer goods.
    Congratulations to the Abbott government for having the courage to remove local car makers from our welfare system.
    MacI
    2nd Jun 2015
    2:46pm
    I saw a brilliant idea that was being developed in Israel that was based on swap-out batteries for electric vehicles. The idea was that you would pull your electric vehicle into a service station and a robotic system would sense the type of battery fitted to your vehicle, select the appropriate replacement battery, and do a swap. The batteries would be charged at the service station from renewables like wind and solar. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8nTAjVaa7Y

    Unfortunately, the company pioneering the idea went broke. Perhaps a vision ahead of its time!
    Adrianus
    2nd Jun 2015
    4:46pm
    Impressive! Battery change in less than 2 minutes.
    It is unfortunate that pioneers suffer but they wouldn't have it any other way I imagine. I love to see what can happen when nobody says "its not possible."
    I think the Tesla power unit comes with a 10 year warranty. Now this IS surprising. I don't know of any power pack with that sort of warranty time frame? I will not be rushing to get in line though.
    Mary
    8th Jun 2015
    4:14pm
    Did our research when this was offered seemed good - but decided to have green donation on our electricity bill as the cost of replacement in the future (guaranteed 10 yrs) seemed an expense we did not want. Since we took the green donation off as we were paying the carbon tax as well - y carful to use as little electricity as we can
    Nomad
    2nd Aug 2016
    11:51am
    Australia once again loses its inventions to overseas intrests. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LMWIgwvbrcM
    danielboonjp
    12th Jul 2018
    12:43pm
    The Taxpayers lose three times as much in rebates to the fossil fuel industry, more than $30 billion ... and LNP and Labor politicians have given gas away to foreign companies ...

    We were self-sufficient in oil, until LNP and Labor politicians sold that off for tuppence too

    Glenn Stevens - of the Reserve Bank devalued our currency to help foreign companies sell of our resources at a cheaper price ...


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