Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Even a sunburnt country can’t make solar sustainable

If you’re in Melbourne and you want to read about global warming and how man is allegedly trashing the planet, then you need to read The Age -- which, like the BBC, never saw a scare story about global warming it didn’t like.

Readers of The Age yesterday morning however would have choked on their muesli when they turned to page 6.


If there’s any place in the world that could make a success of solar, you would think that place would be the vast sunburnt land of Australia. What the story revealed however is that “the cost of installing and maintaining more than 1 million household solar power systems has outweighed their benefit by more than $9 billion.”

That is not  a typo.

$9 billion!


And by the time generous federal and state government subsidies run out, households without solar will have subsidised those that have made the switch to the tune of $14 billion.

That is not an insignificant number.

The Grattan Institute report, to be published Monday, says government incentives and rebates that have encouraged the uptake of household solar have "created a policy mess that should never be repeated" …
    The report calculates that the capital cost of installing and maintaining household solar systems since 2009 has been $18 billion, while their benefit in terms of greenhouse gas abatement and reduced conventional electricity generation has been $9 billion….

In other words, it’s cost $18 billion to generate $9 billion.

    The report finds that households that have installed rooftop solar have still benefited greatly in financial terms "because the incentives offered by state and federal governments have made an uneconomic decision financially viable." …
    Households with solar have also benefited from the fixed structure of electricity tariffs the report says, which has resulted in homes that don't have solar power effectively subsidising network use by those that do.

As I’ve said many time, so-called “renewable” energy may be defined as energy that is not economically sustainable without subsidies, grants or tax breaks.  In other words, it absorbs more value than it produces. It’s a fantasy. As Alex Epstein says, “It’s not really renewable, and it’s not really energy.”

If a country with more solar radiation than almost any other can’t make solar sustainable, and no-one anywhere else has either,  then perhaps it’s time it made the discard pile.

[Pic and caption by Fairfax]

1 comment:

  1. I get six months near free (it takes 25 watts to circulate the water when there is a temperature difference between the cylinder and header tank) ) hot water every year from my evacuated glass tube solar hot water and a useful reduction for a fair wack of the rest of the year and that's in Wellington. Liking to be indepedent was part of the thinking in buying it but it will be paid for by savings in about 6 years. Of course I installed most of it myself without bothering to ask the council for permission or the govt for a subsidy. Increasing freedom from central control is sometimes worth spending a couple of dollars.

    The Tesla battery looks like a useful domestic tool as well. As long as the govt wants to fleece you on line charges or being off grid is economic otherwise there will be a place for solar.



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