Electric plus solar power is cheapest for powering new homes: ATA report

Electric Vehicle Expo staged in Melbourne by the Alternative Technology Association.Alternative Technology Association.

Electricity combined with solar power is now the cheapest way to power new homes. So, in a solar power vs gas showdown, solar wins.

That’s according to a new report from Alternative Technology Australia (ATA).

The ATA report, Household Fuel Choice in the National Energy Market, found new homes powered only by electricity combined with solar panels could save owners up to $18,000 over ten years, when compared to electric and gas powered homes without solar.

solar power vs gas

The ATA says all electric homes with solar power work out cheaper than electric and gas power

ATA energy analyst Dean Lombard concluded there is “no reason economically for new homes to be built with both electricity and gas”. He also said electric hot water systems and air-conditioners are more efficient than similar gas appliances, and that “solar systems are cheaper than ever”.

Research to improve knowledge and energy information

Energy Consumers Australia commissioned the research, on the basis that household energy management is becoming increasingly complex. The objective was to better understand energy cost-effectiveness for households, and to improve consumer understanding about energy.

The services the study applies to for households include space heating, water heating and cooling. All of these can be powered by either gas or electricity. Home owners need to decide which fuel sources make the most economic sense for them.

The report found that in most regions the “best economic decision” is to switch to all-electric for new or replacement household appliances. (The main exceptions were Sydney and Adelaide, which came up with a ‘neutral’ result either way.)

Solar power vs gas: ATA’s recommendations on energy

The ATA report came up with several recommendations from its solar power vs gas  comparison. These include:

  • Educate the construction and energy industries and new home buyers about the value of solar-based all-electric homes.
  • Review policies and programs around the expansion of gas networks.
  • Improve information for consumers regarding the cost of running gas and electric appliances.
  • Strengthen regulatory oversight of gas marketing.
  • Support landlords and lower-income homeowners to install more efficient appliances.

New sustainable development displays benefits of solar

Meanwhile, a new sustainable housing development known as The Cape at Cape Patterson in Victoria showcases the benefits of solar power.

All 230 homes in the estate come with electric power, rooftop solar installations and energy efficient electric appliances.

Each home at The Cape has a solar energy system of 2.5 kW minimum. Homeowners stand to save a combined total of $2 million over ten years by avoiding gas connection and gas usage costs, according to the ATA.