Forget “real 20 percent”, what are the real benefits of going solar?

 

God forbid that pesky wind and solar breaches 20% !

God forbid that pesky wind and solar breaches 20% !

The dust continues to swirl on one of the most divisive energy issues in recent years — the government’s attempted slashing of the RET to the so-called “real 20 percent”. We’ll discuss this but really, is this the debate we should be having in this day and age? We’re going to focus on the bigger picture, the debate we should be having: the one on the real benefits of going solar.

This week saw a political sleight-of-hand that we’ve come to expect from the seat polishers in Canberra. Under the guise of “adjusting” the Rudd government’s 20 percent of renewables by 2020, the government has put together a policy that will divide the nation. The so-called “real 20 percent” effectively slashes the RET for large-scale developers by one-third. For sure it will have “real” problems for many solar providers, with many seeing it as an underhand attempt to push through legislation that will cripple the renewable energy industry.

No wonder renewable energy chiefs are calling the Abbott government proposal an attack on the industry, with some even going so far as accusing the government of attempting to destroy the sector.

“It seems this government is intent on destroying any sort of renewable or green-based industry and it’s solely focused on mineral extraction and fossil fuels,” said Adrian Maddocks of CWP Renewables. Maddocks no doubt  spoke with one eye on the now notorious “coal is good for humanity” comment made recently by the PM.

Luckily Aussies are wise to this. They know the pollies will not spell out the real benefits of going solar for fear of upsetting their mates in the fossil fuel industry. But there’s no harm in us spelling it out again is there?

So here’s just some of the benefits and guess what? It’s more than just saving money!

Save money
Solar panel’s charge down the cost curve has lit the fire under the solar revolution throughout the world. While there may have been some substance in the argument for suggesting household solar was only for the wealthy in the dim, distant past, this has been turned on its head in recent years. Affordable Chinese-made panels have made solar panels available to all and solar households have sprung up in every postcode. In fact they are most popular in lower and middle income postcodes. Solar is expected to reach grid parity with fossil fuels by 2015, making it the logical, and feasible, energy source of the very near future.

Jobs
The future of employment in the energy sector in Australia lies not in fossil fuels but in renewables such as solar energy. The sector now employs over 20,000 people, many of those in rural areas where jobs are scarce. A recent report by The Australia Institute showed that jobs in the solar industry far exceeded those employed in fossil fuelled power stations.

Save the environment
A no brainer. The more energy is produced from renewables such as solar power, the less reliance on polluting, unhealthy fossil fuels. Think of the clean environment your grandkids will inherit from a energy sector high in renewables.

Reduce emissions
Though swept under the carpet by current lawmakers and opinion leaders, the issue of climate change hasn’t gone away. It is remarkable that we have a PM who, on the brink of hosting one one of the most important meetings in the world (the G20) has decided to take the opportunity to spruike the benefits of coal, not solar. Many world leaders must be shaking their heads. We have become a pariah amongst other world nations, many of which are implementing forward-looking policies to reduce carbon emissions.

Support energy innovation
There’s no doubt that solar power is at the cutting edge of energy innovation in this country. From breakthroughs in solar panel photovoltaics to large scale farms, solar is at the forefront of technology breakthroughs.  A nation with plenty of sun and space, we should be a world superpower in the production of solar energy.

However these are just a few real benefits of going solar. Though saving money is a small, though important, part of the change, there are many other reasons for going solar. Have you made the change to solar? What are your thoughts? Please share your story with us in the comments field.

Comments

  1. We all know that the cost of delivery for electricity to your home or workplace has risen steeply over the past few years. At the same time, the cost of putting a good solar system on your roof has declined. Now it is only a matter of getting the best system possible. The cost of converting sunlight to energy with a good system is a constant, and if you write off the cost of the system over 20 years, it is practically free. Considering the fact that your installer will, in the very near future be able to add low cost high capacity battery storage to your system, your level of satisfaction each time the mains power bill comes in will increase, Just do it!

  2. Yes Minister says

    Finances played a significant part in my decision but another major factor was spite, ie the opportunity to get a significant win against certain bottom-feeding political creatures for whom I have the most profound contempt. Whether or not others share my views is of no consequence whatever to me although I’ve been fascinated with the number of previous solar doomsayers of my acquaintance who are now installing their own systems.

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