THURSDAY 30 AUGUST, 2012 |
Solar Power - Regional Victoria Gets It
Statistics recently released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show
uptake of solar power technology outside of Melbourne to be higher than in the
state's capital city.
In Melbourne, 4% of households had solar
and 5% had solar
in October 2011. However, in the rest of the Victoria, 9% of
households had solar hot water installed and 8% had solar panels. Uptake has
probably increased substantially since October last year, but these results
help quash one of the many myths of solar power - that only well-to-do big city
folks can afford it.
The ABS report also notes peak demand for electricity in the state has been
growing much faster than overall electricity demand. This has been attributed to
Victorians increasing their use of air
on very hot days. In Victoria, 1.6 million or 74% of
households use at least one air conditioner for cooling.
Electricity is a particularly thorny issue in the state, not just due to rapidly
rising power costs but also with regard to generation; as much of Victoria's
power comes from brown-coal - one of the filthiest fossil fuels.
According to Melbourne-based Energy Matters, a good quality 5kW
solar panel system installed in Melbourne
can generate electricity bill
savings in the vicinity of $1,420 a year.
However, while Victoria currently has the best solar feed in tariff incentive in
Australia - up to 33c per kilowatt hour - a Victorian Competition and
Efficiency Commission (VCEC) recommendation suggested slashing
under a new program.
The Victorian Government is still considering the VCEC's findings and continues
to play secret squirrel on when changes, if any, will be made.
While Victoria's Department Of Primary Industries' web site says consumers
should "ignore pressure from solar companies to 'get in quick'", there
is certainly precedent in Australia for sudden-death solar
rebate and incentive
changes and the DPI offers
; except that any changes won't be retrospective.
Results from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2011 State Supplementary
Survey – Household Water and Energy Use – conducted during October 2011
across Victoria can be viewed
in full here
Other news for Thursday 30 August, 2012
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