Energy Minister To Cut Renewable Energy Scheme?


Solar Citizens & Smart Energy Council fear that The Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) is on the chopping block with new Energy Minister, Angus Taylor in charge. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has characterised Taylor as the “Minister for lowering power prices”.

A huge claim and responsibility, considering the Government have failed to achieve this promise and outcome previously.

So how does Taylor aim to achieve this and in what ways will it affect renewable energy as the source of energy for Australia’s future?

Anti-Wind Power

Wind Power Energy Source
Taylor is not shy about his resistance towards wind power, as an energy source. He has made it very clear publicly that he is against the replacement of traditional energy sources with wind power.

In 2013 Taylor was a speaker at the Wind Power Fraud Rally, organised by the anti-wind blog “StopTheseThings.com” and has previously called on the Coalition Government to reduce its support for wind farms.

What About Solar?

Roof Top Solar Panels Installed
Thankfully Taylor’s negativity towards wind power does not trickle over to other sources of renewable energy.

The Energy Minister stated recently that “It’s ironic that in a country with an abundance of natural resources – coal, gas, water and solar – we should be in this position”.

“We need to leverage those resources, not leave them in the ground.”

Unfortunately, the mention of coal and the lack of support behind the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) has left The Smart Energy Council and Solar Citizens in fear of the SRES (or as it’s more commonly known as “The Solar Rebate”) to be scrapped.

The SRES currently assists Australian households to be able to afford the upfront cost of solar which aids in slashing their power bills and pollution. The elimination of the SRES would leave those wanting to switch to solar energy, with a steep price spike for systems and instalment.

Campaign To Keep The Solar Rebate

Solar Rebate Campaign Australia

The Smart Energy Council has joined forces with Solar Citizens to mount a campaign to save the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme. The Solar advocates are encouraging as many people as possible to sign a petition which will be presented to the new Energy Minister.

The campaign was created after Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) recommendations to axe the SRES scheme, nine years early.

While Taylor has not confirmed the SRES being scraped publicly, Labor has branded him the most “anti-renewable” Energy Minister yet, which does not give us a lot of confidence.

What Now?

The elimination of the SRES won’t happen overnight (we hope!) but it’s time to get the ball rolling if you’ve been waiting to switch to solar. This will ensure you get the rebates you’re entitled to while they last and avoid any nasty price spikes.

Make sure to explore your options and compares quotes for systems and installers that meet your energy requirements.

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.

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