SRES – Will solar rebates increase the cost of electricity?

Will solar rebates increase the cost of electricity? Yesterday The Australian newspaper published an article titled ‘Households’ $2bn solar hit’ which hypothesises that every Australian household will have to stump up $195 to help subsidise the subsidies. Is this rubbish? What impact does the SRES really have on electricity prices? Let’s read on…

SRES – Will solar rebates increase the cost of electricity?

Ketan Joshi via Renew Economy wrote a great article titled “How a ridiculous falsehood about solar power self-replicated in media”. You can read it on Ketan’s blog (ketanjoshi85) by clicking here. The “$2b solar hit” is a sum which has been basically made up through some extremely shoddy extrapolations.

The article in the Australian was run with by a number of Australia’s most trusted media outlets – News.com.au, 7 News, Sky News, the Today Show, and the consistently atrocious Daily Mail – who titled their article about the rebates thusly: 

“Climate change farce: How every Australian household contributes $200 a year to those lucky enough to be able to afford to put solar panels on their roof”

Energy Minister Angus Taylor decided to blame the big electricity retailers:

‘The big cost is the profits being taken by the big energy companies in the wholesale market, without innovation or new products, and it is time for them to deliver a fairer deal for their customers,’ he said.

‘According to the Australian Energy Market Commission, the small-scale technology certificate cost is less than three per cent of the bill, whereas 46 per cent is going to the big generator retailers.’

The Renew Economy article notes that, for FY18 and FY19 respectively, Australians paid/will pay $19 / $32 towards the scheme. This is a stark contrast to the $134 / $195 which was reported. It appears that the figures are so badly skewed for a number of different reasons including the assumption that 100% of electricity costs are passed on from businesses to households. They also haven’t factored in the Small-scale Technology Percentage, which will be set by the Energy Minister in March – and the effect this will have on STCs is quite marked. Installing solar power systems becomes cheaper if the STCs are higher, so you can see how this would have an impact which could be measured erroneously. It’ll be interesting to see how this impacts on solar grants moving forwards. 

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (aka SRES) is scheduled to run until 2030. If you’d like to read more about it please visit the Clean Energy Regulator’s website – where they have plenty of information about the scheme. 

We’d also recommend Ketan’s article for a more in depth exploration of the issue.

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Shell buys Sonnen | Cheaper Solar Batteries?

Shell buys sonnen: German solar battery company Sonnen has been bought out by global giant Shell for an undisclosed sum. The purchase is still subject to regulatory approval but let’s take a look at what we can expect from this situation.

Shell buys Sonnen

sonnenProtect aka Sonnen Protect 1300/2500 (source: sonnen)
Shell Buys sonnen – sonnenProtect 1300/2500 (source: sonnen.com)

Mark Gainsborough, executive vice-president of Shell New Energies, discussed the purchase: “Sonnen is one of the global leaders in smart, distributed energy storage systems,” he said.

“Full ownership of Sonnen will allow us to offer more choice to customers seeking reliable, affordable and cleaner energy.”

Shell New Energies was founded in 2016 to ‘advance the company’s interests in electricity, as well as biofuel and hydrogen’.

According to the ABC, sonnen’s new location in Adelaide will reap benefits: the local workforce is expected to expand by 430 jobs this year. This is part of sonnen’s plan to build 50,000 battery systems over the next five years.

sonnen CEO Christoph Ostermann said the investment will help the company scale faster and will also have a greater good in terms of energy tech:

“Shell will help drive the growth of Sonnen to a new level and help speed up the transformation of the energy system,” he said.

Ars Technica are reporting that the company have over 40,000 batteries installed worldwide – in Germany, the US, Australia, and more. 

Shell last week confirmed they will extend New Energies into the Australian domestic market – which includes the construction of a 120MW solar project in Queensland – so this is a great step forward for him. 

More News about sonnen in Australia

sonnen have quite a lot of history providing solar power in Australia – it remains to be seen what the Shell takeover will mean for the area, but in the meantime here are some other news articles about sonnen in Australia:

 

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Solar Homes policy – NSW Solar grant

Solar Homes policy – the NSW Labor party have announced a huge solar rebate they will implement if they win the upcoming state election. Let’s learn more about how many households could be helped and what the particulars of the scheme are. 

Solar Homes policy

Michael Daley - Solar Homes Policy (source: michaeldaley.com.au)
Labor leader Michael Daley – announcing the Solar Homes Policy (source: michaeldaley.com.au)

The Solar Homes policy was announced by NSW Labor leader Michael Daley on his official website this week:

“This program will take NSW to over a million solar homes. Based on current take up rates for household solar, the program could help add solar to an additional 1 million homes over the next decade.” the website states. Further reading into the document shows that 500,000 households will benefit from the solar scheme. 

Under the Solar Homes policy, owner-occupied households in New South Wales are eligible for a rebate of up to $2,200, as long as their combined annual income is less than $180,000. 

Deputy Leader and Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe said, “Under this plan, everyone wins. Families get help with their electricity bills and we are taking real action on climate change and giving NSW a cleaner, greener future.”

NSW Labor’s Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Adam Searle said, “Solar Homes is just one aspect of Labor’s plan for cheaper and cleaner energy across NSW. Our policies will cut both electricity bills and carbon emissions. We look forward to providing more in the lead up to the election.”

If Labor do win the state election (which will be held on March 23) and the Solar Homes policy goes ahead, it will commence in the 19-20 financial year (“to ensure an orderly rollout”), and follow other states with their own initiatives:

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Susan River solar farm opened by Elliott Green Power.

US Hedge Fund backed Elliott Green Power have successfully opened the Susan River solar farm. The 95MW farm adds to their current portfolio and is another great step in the right direction for solar farms in Australia and Esco Pacific.

Susan River solar farm

Construction on the Susan River solar farm commenced in mid-January last year and about 150 workers helped finish the farm, which occupies 176 hectares and has 350,000 solar panels. Construction was handled by Esco Pacific, who have plenty of experience in the field, being responsible for projects such as the Finley Solar Farm.

Esco chief executive Steve Rademaker said the project has created five to ten full-time jobs post-construction.

“Choosing a location came down to the suitable size identification and proximity to the electrical grid, among other factors,” Mr Rademaker said.

“The Fraser Coast ticked all these boxes. It’s a good location to build a project like this.”

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham attended the opening of the Susan River solar farm and didn’t miss the opportunity to play politics:

“Elliot Green Power’s $175 million investment is another demonstration of industry’s confidence in the sector and further evidence that consistent energy policy from this Palaszczuk government drives generation investment,” Lynham said in a statement.

“That’s in stark contrast to what the Morrison government’s policies are doing to investment in new generation.”

RenewEconomy are reporting that another of Elliot Green Power’s farms is almost complete (Teebar Solar Farm), and a third (North Aramara Solar Farm) which will be finished later this year.

They also report that Elliot Green Power’s Childers Solar Farm and Susan Rivers Solar Farm were the two first farms to sign up for a ‘proxy revenue swap’. This is a hedging product Nephila Holdings Ltd provided, which protects both farms from varations in output (click here to read more) 

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Moyhall Solar Farm built by Terregra in SA.

Indonesia’s Terregra Renewables is set to construct a second solar farm in South Australia – with the Moyhall Solar Farm to commence construction in March for an August 2019 completion date.

Terregra and the Moyhall Solar Farm

Indonesian renewable company Terregra are set to construct a second solar farm in South Australia – with the Moyhall Solar Farm set to join the previously announced Mobilong solar farm as Terregra’s second Australian solar project. 

According to their official website, Terregra Renewables are hoping to have 300MW of operating renewable power by 2023. They work on delivering off grid solar power to Indonesia’s remote arreas, and they are also create energy on a utility scale for urban/industrial areas. 

“The Moyhall Solar Farm is another addition to Terregra’s growing pipeline of solar projects,” Graham Pearson, Director of Terregra Renewables, told PV Magazine Australia.

The 5MW Moyhall Solar Farm will include 16,000 PV modules and two inverters, installed inside containers. According to PV Magazine, the $16m Terregra has invested in South Australian solar will create approximately 80 jobs during the constructions of the Moyhall Solar Farm and the Mobilong Solar Farm. These ‘smaller’ type utility-scale investments are often very interesting for investors so Terregra shouldn’t have much trouble finding interest in the solar farms. The Mobilong Solar Farm has appointed Balance Utility Solutions to carry out EPC work on the farm, according to PV Magazine

“Balance is delighted to be working with Terregra Renewables on the delivery of their first solar project in Australia,” said Rod Hayes, Managing Director of Balance Utility Solutions.

“We expect this approach of close developer and EPC early collaboration, and a focus on portfolios of smaller scale projects, to be a growing trend through the next few years as the utility scale solar market continues to mature.”

SA Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan discussed the impact Terregra’s investment will have on the community:

“Terregra Renewables’ $7.6 million investment will increase South Australia’s energy supply, stimulate the local economy and create local jobs,” said Minister van Holst Pellekaan.

You can learn more about Terregra Asia Energy by viewing their company profile below.

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