Last week we here at SolarQuotes HQ we were thrilled to bring you news of a major CSIRO report which found that solar energy intermittency — defined as when cloud cover causes a reduction in the efficiency of energy drawn from the sun — can be successfully managed.
To the great consternation of solar critics and the delight of solar fans, the major study found that, not only could proper management techniques limit the problem of solar intermittency, but it could also contribute to solar energy taking its rightful role as a major energy source in Australia.
This week we’d like to follow up that with another cracker study: this time from the REC Agents Association (RAA). According to this report, the increased takeup of solar by Australian consumers has contributed to a reduction in power consumption and a lowering of wholesale electricity prices across the National Electricity Market.
The RAA’s media release said that electricity consumption in the eastern states NEM has fallen by 3.2 percent (6,565 GWh) over the last three years with around half of the reduction credited to the installation of solar power and solar hot water systems (which is supported by the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Target), in combination with various energy efficiency activities supported by the Victorian and NSW energy savings schemes.
“Market based schemes such as the Renewable Energy Target and the Energy Savings Schemes have been successful in the large-scale deployment of greenhouse reduction technologies and have done so in a way that reduces costs to customers”, said Ric Brazzale, author of the Report and the President of the RAA, in a media release.
“Ha told you so”, is probably what solar fans may be thinking at this stage. But if solar and energy efficiency is helping bringing electricity prices down why are prices going up?
Mr Brazzalle offers a clue: “It is the cost of transporting the electricity through monopoly network businesses that is out of control. The cost of actually producing the electricity is falling. Rising residential power prices have been caused by massive network investment (poles and wires) which has been passed on to consumers through higher charges,” he said.
Government schemes that support solar and energy efficiency have been successful in keeping a lid on wholesale power prices (which are at their lowest level in real terms for more than 10 years)”, he said.
So there you go folks, for whatever reason our electricity prices are set to soar it isn’t the fault of solar. In fact the report has found that increased usage of solar power has reduced the electricity price. So the next time you pick up your newspaper and read a lame article about how solar is making electricity more expensive, ignore it…get your solar news from a media outlet with at least a passing interest in the truth.