The new normal in Australia’s wide open spaces is solar plus storage. This renewable direction seems to be the natural progression which remote and rural areas would take as it can be very costly, and therefore not profitable for the grid to connect these people to its electricity network.
However, thanks to the sun and the continuously developing technology, rooftop solar installation became a reality. Now there are a growing number of homes in the rural and remote areas using solar power to supply their electricity needs.
The increasing installation of these photovoltaic arrays, integrated with their battery storage systems are now encouraged by the Government as they were forced to realize that the new reality of off or edge-of-grid solar plus storage is the only viable option in far-flung areas.
Solar plus storage the superior energy solution
The two driving factors that made this new norm possible is the rapidly falling prices of solar, and the increasing familiarity with renewable technology. Thus, solar plus storage is slowly but steadily encroaching in the electricity mainstream of the country’s rural and remote areas.
Western Australia is also going the same route because of its growing number of innovative solutions which are providing tangible proof of the capacity of solar power to supply the technological solution to the problem of electrical connectivity.
Mike Nahan, the state’s Minister of Energy acknowledges the strong economic case for solar plus storage. This is proof the change in thinking that is taking place in Australia. He has called for the state’s rural and remote utility to fast track its uptake.
Previously, the Energy Minister has expressed doubts that renewable energy would be the answer to the rural country’s energy ills. He is a strong supporter of free-market principals, and is against subsidies for renewable deployment.
Energy Minister concedes solar is essential going forward
When someone brought up the issue of the low level of electricity supply in the remote mining town of Ravensthorpe, the Energy Minister stated that the local utility Horizon is looking at a number of solutions including micro-grid, with decentralized solar component.
“I am not a technologist,” Nahan stated hesitantly. “[However] we could tell everybody in Ravensthorpe to put in solar and have a wind–diesel–solar combination,” he added.
“They already have a micro-grid. These are the things that Horizon is supposed to look at, and we will go down and discuss it,” he continued.
Remote communities still awaiting reliable energy supply
He also stated that he had “entrusted” the utility to come up with alternative power solutions for electricity supplies to Ravensthorpe and other remote towns. Nahan also appointed Ray Wills, an energy expert, to the board of the utility. Willis is formerly the head of Sustainable Energy Association, which is now defunct.
Perhaps Nahan’s change of attitude towards solar power is due to the recent report stating that solar plus storage is already economic in some part of the country.
Impressive as it is, it is hoped that this about-face of the Western Australian Energy Minister will hold until all of the rural and remote areas in Australia become connected to solar.
TDT Electrical Group is a solar power system installer based in Lansdale, Western Australia. They have been in operation for five years and have built their reputation on excellent customer service and transparent business practices. You can learn more about TDT Electrical Group in our installers directory.