Solar PV systems should be installed in all new Australian homes to boost energy efficiency and cut costs, a new report states.
The study by the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) and ClimateWorks Australia precedes the 2019 review of the Australian Building Code.
‘The Bottom Line’ identifies a range of energy efficiency measures needed to cut heating and cooling energy consumption by up to 51 per cent. These include insulation, ceiling fans and smarter appliances.
Introducing these changes now could save Australians up to $150 per household on annual energy bills. This would more than offset the extra costs of installing technology like rooftop solar power systems, the report notes.
Government aid for household solar PV systems
There is a definite case for introducing renewable energy requirements for new homes, the report claims.
Solar PV systems are already more cost-effective than most other energy efficiency opportunities found in the analysis. This is based on energy prices and feed-in tariffs for excess energy sold back to the grid.
Although solar panel rebates exist to help householders and businesses install solar systems, incorporating solar PV into the Code would also mean addressing:
- Other renewable options for those lacking access to rooftop solar; e.g. apartment dwellers
- Government finance to reduce the cost of upfront capital expenditure
- Cost of integrating large amounts of solar PV into the grid
Other nations have already upgraded building codes
Around half a million homes will be built between 2019 and 2022. Delaying tighter standards by just three years would therefore mean up to $1.1 billion in unnecessary household energy bills and 3 million tonnes of extra emissions by 2050.
According to the study, an upgraded Code could subsequently:
- Deliver more comfortable homes
- Reduce stress on the electricity grid
- Cut emissions by more than the amount emitted each year by Victoria’s Loy Yang B coal-fired power station
In the US, California already requires all new-build homes to be ‘solar ready’, the report adds. All new houses must have a dedicated solar zone set aside by the builder. Apartments and other buildings with limited roof area can install solar panels on another structure up to 250 feet from the building.