Australians have really embraced solar panels systems over the last 10 years and it is now commonplace to see solar panels on the roofs of one in four homes these days. The reasons that solar power at a residential level has become solar-panels-installed-on-roof‘mainstream’ in Australia is down t several factors:

  • The cost of solar systems is less than half what it was ten years ago. !0 years ago a 5 kilowatt solar system could easily have cost $10,000 to $15,000. In 2016 it is possible to buy a 5 kilowatt system for under $5,000. The emergence if the Chinese solar panel manufacturing industry has resulted in the cost of panels coming down to under 60 cents per watt.
  • Government Incentives. The story of Australian State and federal Government ‘incentives’ for home owners to install solar power systems has taken many twists and turns over the last few years and it this has been both beneficial, in terms of offering attractive ‘upfront’ savings for the initial installation of a solar system (primarily funded by the Federal Governments ‘ Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme‘) and, some would say, poorly thought through, when it came to determining the optimal pricing structures for solar feed in tariffs, which essentially ‘pay’ the solar system owner for solar electricity that is generated by their system and is not used in their residence, but is instead ‘sold back’ to the energy retailers. The feed in tariff has been a major financial ‘component’ of determining the viability of installing a solar system. The South Australian solar feed in tariff’s were probably managed better than other states. In N.S.W. the initial solar feed tariff’s were ridiculously high initially and are virtually non existent today. This has certainly created a ‘boom and bust’ scenario for the solar industry, to a certain extent.
  • Electricity Price Increases. Virtually all states and territories have seen steep electricity price rises over the last 10 to 15 years. Solar systems that are of the right size and quality can insulate households from the impact of electricity price increases. With the advent of ‘next generation’ solar battery storage¬†units, there is a distinct¬†possibility now of home owners in Australia becoming electricity ‘independent’.

Further Reading:

Clean Energy Council