One of the reasons for the Governments reduction in the solar power credits scheme 6 months earlier is because of the projected financial impact that renewable energy sources will have upon the wholesale cost of electricity. This reduction of the solar credit scheme could be seen to curb the public’s interest in solar, thus slowing the rate that the wholesale price will decline at, and it would seem, buy some time for the current utility companies to renew and restructure their business models and tweak their “green” public image. How, you ask?
In a recently published article by Giles Parkinson at reneweconomy.com.au, he argues
“Rooftop solar PV poses a greater threat to the business models of the utilities because it gets behind the meter. This means that, unlike the boom in air conditioners in recent years, rooftop solar PV reduces demand on the network rather than adds to it. The business models of all generators, distributors and retailers have long been based around the unwavering assumption of growing demand. They are simply not able to deal with the absence of growth – and for this reason, rooftop solar PV is likely to have an even greater impact on their business models”
So it would seem that power independence could be the straw that breaks the carbon’s atom. In many ways, people who install solar power for their own usage should be seeing greater benefits in their quarterly bills – instead the uptake of solar is being seen as one of the factors behind the rise in electricity prices, the utilities are stating it is, along with large scale renewable projects, contributing to the decline in wholesale electricity prices (profit?)
Funny how there was hardly a ripple of acknowledgement from the mostly foreign owned utilities when the Energy White Paper revealed some truths:
“The Energy White Paper pointed out, each 1.5kW air conditioner adds $7,000 to the cost of the network. A home installing three such machines requires $20,000 of added infrastructure – paid for by other users, including those who don’t have air-con. It was estimated in the Energy White Paper that customers who don’t have air conditioners are paying $400 a year to subsidise the use of air-conditioners by the majority”
And now solar is putting their profit under fire?
The Government’s decision to reduce the solar power scheme early can be seen as pandering to the utility companies somewhat. Sure the paradigm shift was never meant to be 100% smooth, but at the moment we have the utilities dragging their feet and kicking up a fuss over roof top solar – proposing higher fixed charges, refusing connections, and lobbying intensely for a reduction in rooftop solar incentives.
Generating power behind the meter should be held in esteem, not something to be penalised over, and no guilt should be felt that we are reducing wholesale pricing in an industry that is slow in changing.
Electrical independence, even if partial, should be a tax deductable honour (or equivalent solar scheme credited), and should be praised by our Government as a citizens duty to the future.
By Matt Davidson
I understand all views are my own and not necessarily those of The Green Power Company and its employees