The popularity of solar power in Australia has exploded in the last few years, and it’s not hard to see why. Australians have access to some of the least expensive electricity in the Western World, with solar power playing a crucial role. With the amount of sunshine we get here, we should be leading the world in renewable energy. The truth however is far from it.
Why people are turning to solar power
There are two main reasons why Australians are turning to solar power: money and environmentalism. The price of electricity has more than doubled for the average Australian home in the previous 10 years, and as it becomes more expensive to run traditional power sources, this increase is only going to grow as the cost is passed on to the consumer.
People are starting to realise that solar power is a viable alternative, and as technology progresses, it’s becoming more and more efficient to harness the sun’s rays. It is estimated that in 15 years, half of all homes in Australia will be self-sufficient when it comes to their energy usage.
The other major draw towards solar energy in Australia is its low impact on the environment. This renewable energy doesn’t damage the environment in any way. A typical solar energy system in a residential home will eliminate 3-4 tons of carbon emissions each year- roughly the same as planting 100 trees.
The sun gives out enough energy in one hour to meet the entire world’s needs for a year, and it’s becoming clear that solar power is the future. In South Australia, the number of homes with rooftop solar is over 20%, and that figure rises to 40% for owner-occupied houses. As people become more and more environmentally conscious, solar systems powering their homes are becoming more popular.
Australia has the largest amount of rooftop solar installations per capita in the world- roughly about 1 in 6 homes, yet surprisingly the country only takes a small percentage of its overall energy consumption from solar. The Energy Supply Association of Australia estimates less than 3% of the nation’s energy usage is from solar power, and this has led to a lot of international criticism. This low number is because Australia’s renewable energy target mainly just promotes the use of large-scale wind power, since wind farms are still much cheaper to build compared to solar energy plants.
The future of solar power in Australia
Here in Australia we have the highest concentration of solar radiation per square metre of any continent, vastly exceeding the average values in Europe, Russia, and North America. We receive an average of 58 million petajoules of solar radiation per year, approximately 10,000 times larger than the nation’s total energy consumption. To put things in perspective, one petajoule is equal to one quadrillion Joules.
There is clearly enough sun to go around, so what are we doing? Well the Government has recently launched new policies, notably the Clean Energy Initiative and the Solar Flagships Program, which will invest 1.5 billion dollars into four large-scale solar power generation projects. This should help the nation’s overall energy consumption, but will take years to complete, and so won’t help you when your next electricity bill is due.
If you do want to start saving money today, then a home solar system installation is the way to do it. The government offer incentives for installing solar systems in your home, such as the Solar Credits Program and Feed-in Tariffs, but the real money saving comes with your next electricity bill. The Clean Energy Council estimates that the average Australian household will save over one thousand dollars per year on their electricity bill by converting to a 3 KW solar system. With modern solar panel systems lasting at least a couple of decades, that’s over twenty thousand dollars saved on electricity bills- not a bad return for the initial investment.
If you’re interested in installing a solar panel system, or you have any questions about the process, please give Bright Earth a call today. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be only too happy to help. Let’s get the ball rolling on your self-reliance when it comes to electricity. The sooner you invest in solar power, the sooner you start saving money!