All eyes have been on the future direction of solar power and renewable energy as policies are rolled out in the forthcoming Federal election, which is just days away. How all this will impact the Adelaide solar panels industry and the future of rooftop solar in South Australia remains to be seen, but the signs are more ‘positive’ than ever that all 3 major parties have, to varying extents, plans to extend the reach of solar at both a residential and commercial scale.
The Labor party has published there renewable energy policies which have to be considered ‘ambitious’, and include:
- An astounding 50 percent renewable energy production target by the year 2030. This sounds incredible and we would like to see a detailed breakdown as to exactly how this would be achieved. As solar energy storage solutions become ‘mainstream’ it would make logical sense to support via subsidy, the initial cost of installation of solar battery storage units. Storing excess solar electricity produced from residential solar systems in high energy density lithium battery technologies, for re-use at night time, is sensible and financially viable, given the low feed in tariff current payed in S.A.
- Community Power Schemes. Our reading of this is that projects like rooftop solar for apartment blocks, business parks, rental properties and community based solar farm investment projects will be offered ‘support’ in the way of tax incentives and low interest loans (possibly, again the detail is not spelled out), to establish the commissioning of these projects. This could potentially represent a major ‘shot in the arm’ to the Adelaide solar industry were it to be implemented, as it would make the projects available for bidding by the smaller Adelaide solar installers.
The Greens have indicated that, via introduction of a regulatory framework, they would seek to mandate that a ‘fair price’ is paid by the energy suppliers, for solar generated electricity. This has been a ‘hot topic’ in the solar industry for as long as it has existed in recent history. The ‘mismanagement’ of state feed in tariffs has led to a ‘boom and bust’ cycle for residential solar, to a certain extent. Had more consistency in state government policies prevailed over the last 10 years in regards to the payable feed in tariff, which is the amount paid to solar system owners that send power back onto the electricity grid from their solar panels, then the South Australian solar industry would have, most likely, been more ‘stable’ than it has been.
The Liberal Parties plan, specifically in relation to solar power is even less clear. It appears that they will support investment in large scale solar farms. Other than that their policies remain unclear (to us at least).
We will continue to watch with interest the outcomes, for solar in S.A. and the likely impacts on the industry and those residents in Adelaide looking to install solar panels.