SA Power Networks: Discouraging Solar Power Storage for Households

If solar power helps in the decrease of electricity costs for consumers and can cut their bills by half, why is SA Power Networks discouraging energy storage for households? SA Power Networks has claimed that energy storage systems such as those from SA solar quotes for batteries or fuel cells are potential “technical risks” to the region’s electricity grid.

Should Government’s first concern be financial gain rather than looking after the best interests of their citizens? It seems that SA Power Networks understands it that way by having declared that those who have installed systems for energy storage in their homes will no longer be eligible to claim feed-in tariff, or FIT, credits under the Solar Feed-in program.

Going Off the Grid for Good

Solar Business Services founder Nigel Morris described this move of SA Power Networks as “bizarre,” an action that might actually increase existing network costs. According to Morris, there has been no evidence of a threat to network operation by the utilisation of energy storage during peak hours.

In some of its own corporate briefings, SA Power Networks has, in fact, admitted that storage of fuel cell and battery systems have now gained momentum. This momentum will obviously reduce demand for electricity from distributors and may prove to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back as consumers forego their connections to the main energy grid for good.

Potential of Giving the Solar Industry a Bad Reputation

Another solar power expert, SolarQuotes founder, Finn Peacock, wrote in Climate Spectator that the new rebate scheme of $500 that Government is offering to the solar industry sector is likely to encourage a larger scale adoption of systems which are of “questionable” durability, performance, reliability, and quality. A solar system at 3 kilowatts of good quality, according to Peacock, may be priced as Adelaide solar quotes from $5,000 and upwards, while systems at 1.5 kilowatts will go for only about $1,499, cheaper by 33% than the former.

Peacock believes that a million Australian homes can be solar power users with Government’s timetable of three years, even without the said rebate, which he said might well increase the sales of the market’s lower end, but through sales of underperforming equipment, a fact that will give the solar industry a bad reputation.

Two Different Takes on Riding the Solar Coaster

Protestors against giving an amount as large as $500 individually opined that the amounts might as well be considered free solar rebates since this scheme is also likely to attract those with the tendency to undercut legitimate stakeholders who have to factor in overheads into their expenses – such as warranty support, customer service, and quoting systems – which, in turn, determine the prices. Peacock also mentioned that the rebate could create the phenomenon known as “solar coaster,” when the demand for solar power surges as soon as an announcement that a rebate is ending is followed by a significant slump in business activity after it has actually ended.

A solar coaster situation makes it difficult to operate a business, said Peacock, and many companies have gone into bankruptcy by riding on the solar coaster. Green Energy Trading’s Ric Brazzale, however, in his article for the same Climate Spectator, wrote that Peacock missed a few key points regarding the REC Agents Association, or RAA, which is supportive of the million-solar panel-rooftops policy. The rebate, according to Brazzale’s article, will not only increase demand for solar system installation but help in the reduction of electricity bills of low income-earning individuals.

The Author

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.

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