Tapping Australia's home solar goldmine

During the recent energy crisis, Australian consumers have experienced the worst of both worlds: dirty power that’s been breaking price records.

The wholesale cost of energy in June 2022 ranged from two times higher than last year in Queensland, to 2.5 times higher in New South Wales, and around 3.5 times higher in Victoria and South Australia. In June, Sixty eight per cent of this power was generated from either black or brown coal, or gas.

But Australia is a world leader in renewable generation. We already have three million homes with rooftop solar - around 30 per cent of all the homes out there.

So what would happen if we harnessed the true potential of this renewable energy, to find a faster way out of the energy crisis?

Key Points:

Getting the most out of your solar system

Currently, most solar system owners only self-consume a third of their system’s solar energy.

Of the solar power they export to the grid, it receives an increasingly low feed-in tariff in response.

This is particularly frustrating for people who invested in solar with expectations of receiving a higher FiT, which was the case previously.

One simple and cost-free to increase how much of your own solar you use and reduce your energy costs is to think about WHEN you use power:

  • Use more devices and appliances when the sun is shining, or just during the usual “solar window” (10am-4pm), and you can boost the amount of solar you use to power your home or business.

Another is to buy and install a solar battery. Key benefits include:

  • Solar owners would benefit from increased self-consumption of their own solar energy. Rather than being as reliant on the grid, they could use more of their free home-grown solar power, including outside of the “solar window”.
  • Solar owners can get a higher FiT for their solar by putting green energy into the grid when it needs it the most - which is when wholesale FiT is highest.
  • Solar owners can make sure the climate is getting the most value out of their solar panels. By putting more renewable energy back into the grid at peak times less of the demand at these times will need to be met by fossil fuel generators. This will help to increase uptake of renewable energy across Australia and drive down energy prices for everyone.

Big picture battery benefits breakdown

Let's dive a bit deeper into that last point: what would happen if every home with a solar system were able to get a battery, and automated that battery to put some of that solar back into the energy grid.

This would also mean at least half of energy demand at peak times being met by renewables. And it would shift around $2.8 billion (962 per solar and battery owner) from fossil fuel generators to solar and battery owners in a year... But more importantly, it would fundamentally change how the energy system functions.

Prices throughout the day would change to reflect the new supply dynamics, falling in line with increased supply of cheaper energy.

Everyone - including those without solar and a battery - would be able to benefit from the influx of more cheap, renewable energy into the grid from the solar goldmine across Australia.

Interested in buying a battery? We can help you buy one at a fair cost, through our partnership with UPowr. Head over here to find out more and we’ll be in touch.

Our assumptions include:

  • Each battery has a capacity of 10 kWh and a charge/discharge power of 5 kW.
  • Your home battery charges from solar between 7am - 6pm during the two cheapest (and usually greenest) hours each day. This is used to calculate the min daily charging price.
  • Your home battery would then export to the grid during the two most expensive hours (when wholesale energy prices are highest) between 6pm - 23:59pm each day. This is assuming all of the stored energy hasn’t been used by your home beforehand.
  • Five min prices are used when calculating mean charging and discharging prices each day.
  • Quarantine Power Station in SA has a power generation capacity of 224 MW
  • A less fuel efficient car emits around three tonnes of greenhouse gases each year.