Election 2016: renewables roundup week #7 – the Brexit Edition

brexit text on solar

Q. What does the Brexit mean for Australian Solar? A. Higher prices.

Well that was interesting wasn’t it folks? Just as the Australian election was drifting off into the sunset, we get hit by the arrival of an enormous, loud and dangerous elephant in the room. I’m talking of course of the surprise Brexit result where Brits voted to exit the European Union, a result that sent shock waves across the world.

Prime Minister Turnbull was quick to grace our screens (sans the hi-vis vest and hard hat this time) to assure us — in his most statesmanlike voice — that the vote would not affect Australia in any way. The fact that he looked like a kid hauled before the headmaster, with a trembling bottom lip and shaky “wasn’t me, wasn’t me” speech didn’t make him look that convincing though.

Next came Bouncing Billy Shorten, who will now see his chances of winning the election recede, also determined to tell us that his party’s policies are the best choice in these now choppy waters.

What does Brexit mean for renewables?

For Britain the news of a Brexit vote isn’t good for the clean energy sector. Formerly the “dirty man of Europe” the UK has been dragged kicking and screaming lately into the clean energy age. Fears are now that the UK may return to these dark days as the country will not be beholden to EU sanctions for non-compliance, nor under the relatively forward-thinking Cameron clean energy policies.

Brexit Charts An Uneasy Future For Renewables

Brexit Brings Chaos to Europe’s Clean-Energy Goals

Will this affect Australia though?

With the mother country possibly heading back to fossil fuels, the anti-renewables wing of the Coalition may gain heart. Certainly that’s the risk at a government level (what’s new I hear readers say) but the solar energy and battery storage revolution continues with households. Indeed investment bank Morgan Stanley believes the growth of solar and battery storage is being seriously underestimated (and were kind enough to credit SolarQuotes as one source for their research).

What will Brexit do to solar panel prices?

Solar panels are imported using US Dollars. Most forecasters think that Brexit will push the AUD down against the safe-haven USD. So expect the cost of solar systems to rise a few percent in the medium term.

In non-Brexit news:

Electricity Prices: Solar Citizens have worked out that Aussies are saving 1 Billion bucks a year with solar.

Cost of wind and solar: IRENA reckon, the cost of producing renewables will fall by an incredible two thirds within 10 years.

Community Energy: The Conversation picks ups the pieces of the major parties’ renewable energy policies and investigates the potentially huge role of community energy in our renewables future.

Barnaby Joyce: Here’s a report about farmers calling on uber-skeptic Barnaby Joyce to support renewables. Good luck with that one fellas!

Malcolm Turnbull: And finally in our election renewables roundup, news of protestors calling for action on climate change in Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate.


  1. Colin Spencer says

    That IRENA statement quoted above looks pretty much on the spot and likely to be factual. Having wasted $16,000 or more on a system at my previous address, I was advised to hold off for a while by my mate who is CEO of a solar manufacturing company in China, because of rapidly developing technology and system designs. He was also including storage systems, which are probably no economically viable just yet, as well.

    • Rich Bowden says

      Thanks Colin. Viable storage just around the corner?

      • Jack Wallace says

        Certainly “Viable storage just around the corner”…….if you look backwards!

        Don’t want to go through the whole thing again, but refer you to a couple of comments I made on another thread:- http://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/nsw-feed-in-tariff/

        When the cost of a medium-good lead-acid battery-bank works out appreciably cheaper than the ‘Service to Property’ charge alone (not counting the power you pay for ~ many times over the odds for the price you get for feeding power into the grid) then I say the day has long since passed when stand-alone.
        Keep in mind, too, that if you’re on a stand-alone system you tend t be much more conscious of what you use, and what you may be wasting.

  2. This is mere speculation. The Australian dollar is averaging 74 cents which is above the month or pre-brexit price. The Australian dollar is influenced way more by commodity prices and interest rates. Solar costs are largely influenced by the price of silicon, efficiency, STC (which are still in a deficit) and mass production which is a much more relevant influencer than the Brexit effect on the Aussie dollar. Solar will keep getting cheaper.

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