In the last few weeks I have been curiously listening to a very popular talk back radio program that in my view doesn’t support solar and renewable energy installations throughout Australia, particularly in NSW. This criticism is mainly because all solar installations completed, are ‘subsidised’ and eligible for generous rebates or more commonly known as STC’s (Small-scale Technology Certificates) if it meets certain criteria, using tax-payers money. I will explain how this all works shortly, however, I would like to raise a few points in the defence of renewable energy as it’s no secret I’m a prime advocate for it.
We all know that solar has been around for many years, but believe it or not, it’s still in the early-stages of reaching its full potential. The radio announces that continue to bicker, complain that ‘us, the tax payers’, shouldn’t be funding solar installations and continually argue that we should look at other options such as build more ‘efficient’ coal fired power stations. Let me ask this question, who do you think will fund the new coal fired power station if they were ever built? Yes, that’s right, you and I (the tax payer). So how would that be any more efficient than the sun’s rays hitting solar panels that generate electricity?
Our population (especially in Sydney) is increasing at a rapid rate. There is a phenomenal increase in our supply in power demand each year to meet the requirements of all these new homes, high rise apartments, shopping centres and schools being built. This increase effects all Australians as more electricity is required to be produced – causing our electricity prices to sky rocket.
What these radio announces don’t realise, is that when people install solar on there homes and businesses, they are actually helping the entire network as they take off pressure from the electricity grid. You may say one home seriously cannot make a difference, however, one home here and one home there adds up to generate a substantial amount of power. By taking pressure off the grid, it has many benefits such as burning less coal, requiring less upgrades, minimising black outs due to overloading and keeping electricity costs to a minimum for consumers.
Earlier this year I did a short speech on the benefits of renewable power. It amazes me that certain individuals wouldn’t support something that is so powerful, something so reliable, something so radiant… something so amazing called our sun, a true star in our universe.
Most electricity retailers pay their customers for any additional electricity that is not used by them and pushed back into the grid, a great incentive if you power conscious and enjoy the low quarterly bills. But let’s face it, coal will not be around forever so it’s imperative we look at other ways to meet our power demands and implement innovative ideas which many Australians are doing across the board.
I constantly tell people who are interested in solar or battery storage, do your research! Cheap is not the right answer. I see many people time and time again fall into the trap of great deals but having inverters fail after 3 years or panels poorly installed and not receiving maximum output from there systems. Any qualified installer from the Clean Energy Council should be doing a site inspection (not a Google map search only) and liaising with you and asking certain questions. I always ask my clients for the last 6 months’ worth of electricity bills to get an understanding of their usage, averages, current costs and do an evaluation with a report. I also highly recommend obtaining 3 separate quotes and be mindful on using popular and well-known brand solar modules and inverters that are on the approved list by Clean Energy Council.
So how does it all work?... and is it all worth it? In a nutshell, STCs (Small-scale Technology Certificates) are eligible on solar systems up to 100kW in size. The higher the STCs the more ‘rebate’ you get in return for your installation.
At the moment, the value of the rebate is approximately $37 per STC. This equals roughly $630 per kW installed. The STC price has fluctuated over the years with the lowest being $17, however it cannot go higher than $40 per STC. The rebate period will decrease every year unitl 2030, basically the longer you wait to install solar the less you will receive as each year passes by.
So for example, if you were to install a 5kW system on you home or business, it would work out to be something like this: $630 x 5 (kW) = $3,150 (this would roughly be the amount off your system with bigger margins for larger installations)
The amount your entitled too also depends where you live. Each suburb and state in Australia is categorised into ‘Zones’ 1, 2, 3 and4. The lower the number, the more money you receive in return.
In summary, without the Sun’s intense energy there would be no life on earth. Although it has used half of it’s hydrogen reserves, rest assured, the Sun has an expected life span for another 5 billion years to keep producing radiant energy to our earth.
In just one second, our sun produces enough energy for almost 500,000 years of the current needs of our civilization on the planet. If only we could collect it and use it all, it would solve all our power needs! Coal fired power stations or Solar?...You be the judge!