Last night’s Catalyst on the ABC was the harbinger of things to come. It featured the new storage systems for homes with solar panels.
Tesla’s new $3500 10kWh Powerwall home battery
While expensive, these new battery systems will solve the key problem for people with solar panels: What do you do when the sun is not shining?
The answer in the past had been to put your excess electricity back into the group where you were paid a fraction of the price that the power companies would sell it for. Having fed your power back into the grid for a pittance during the daytime, you are forced to purchase power back at peak prices during the evening period.
Now that is over and, for a not inconsiderable price, consumers will be able to come very close to self-sufficiency and move “off grid”.
Of course, the power companies are outraged by this possibility claiming that the people who do so will be “selfish and greedy”. That’s pretty rich coming from a power company.
They claim that the burden of maintaining the power infrastructure that delivers electricity will increasingly be shifted to those who cannot afford to install solar panels and batteries. You feel sorry for the last person in Australia to move onto a solar panel system.
The difficulty at present is that a complete solar panel battery system is still fairly expensive and people are unlikely to shift to self-sufficiency for purely economic reasons.
Most, including our household, will shift because ultimately it will be every individual’s decision to abandon coal-fired electricity that will bring the existing system to a halt.
In 2015, there were 9 million households in Australia and it would appear that around 15% of them have solar panels installed.
Percentage of Australia’s total solar PV capacity in each state (cumulative to end 2014)
|Australian Capital Territory||1%|
|New South Wales||20%|
Why is the Turnbull government not looking at ways to establish a local solar panel industry with the aim of having solar panels on the roof of every house in Australia?.
In the first case, it would fly in the face of the Luddite policies of the current government.
In the second case, it would mean parting company with one of their major financial backers: the coal industry.
In the third case, it would require visionary leadership and there is an absolute dearth of that in Australia at present.
Nonetheless, if enough people decide to take situation to their own hands and move away from coal fired electricity, it may make the current means of production uneconomic and the government will be forced to support the move towards solar powered homes.
Roll on the revolution.