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Published on October 18th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Australian Businesses Switching to Solar Power Because…

October 18th, 2012 by  

Can you guess why more and more Australian businesses are installing commercial solar arrays?

Yep, it’s all about the Benjamins… or some other famous dead guy who Australian rappers boast about the Nellies. Of course, there are also other reasons for switching over (ahem, stopping mass societal suicide from excessive greenhouse gas emissions), but I think it’s pretty obvious what causes a mass shift in the business world — money.

“The cost of producing solar panels is constantly dropping – largely due to the arrival of major players out of China, so the barrier to entry is being lowered all the time,” a post about the Australian commercial solar shift on sister site The Inspired Economist notes. “In fact, we’ve seen costs of solar systems drop by around 50% from 2011 – 2012, meaning the once high capital costs associated with installing a system are diminishing – fast. By moving your business to a solar energy source, you’re in effect hedging your bets against rising electricity prices.”

Yep, we just wrote about the quick, nonstop drop in solar panel prices (for the 100th time) the other day.

Here’s more from The Inspired Economist:

Here in Australia, we’re all feeling the pinch of rising electricity costs and small business owners are no exception. In the State of New South Wales (NSW), which has the country’s largest population, energy costs will jump by 38% in two years largely due to underinvestment in infrastructure (electricity poles and wires etc) and the flow on effects of the Carbon Tax.

The introduction of the Australian Federal Government’s Carbon Tax on July 1 this year has seen electricity companies increase their prices to compensate for any losses associated with the tax. The government is providing relief in terms of personal income tax but there is little in the way of help for small business.

One area which has some of the biggest potential to ease the cost of electricity price rises is solar energy. The uptake in Australia has exploded in recent years with generous government rebates on solar systems and feed in tariffs (where you send unused electricity back to the grid in exchange for credits on your electricity bill) providing a real incentive to make the switch to solar power.

Given the fact that installing a solar power system, whether for residential or commercial purposes is so much cheaper now than even 12 months ago, and it’s not uncommon for the average business to save upwards of 40% on their energy overheads, it makes perfect sense to begin the move to solar energy today and reap the rewards for years to come.

Image via Solar Market

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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • Lilia Rhodes

    This is great! Many are already converted! Solar energy seems so contagious these days. =)

  • Ronald Brak

    Australia has mostly residential point of use solar and until recently not much commercial point of use solar. We sort of got things the wrong way around as it’s generally much easier and cheaper to install solar panels on a large, often flat, commerical building roofs than residential roofs. And it can also be more energy efficient as putting angled panels on a flat roof can significantly reduce air conditioner use. There are several reasons why we ended up like this. Basically subsidies and feed in tariffs were better for small residential systems and also businesses pay less for electricity than households. But on the bright side, now that point of use solar pays for itself, we have lots of free roofspace for low cost installations on many buildings owned by people who often pay spot prices for electricity. This is useful because they will angle their solar panels to best meet their demand rather than just facing them due north, so they will be even more effective than residential solar on average at reducing the load on transmission infrastructure. Not that it really matters at this point how demand for grid electricity is already dropping.

    • i imagine that route also increase citizen support for solar and against GW much faster. that goes a long way.

      • Ronald Brak

        People have suggested that is why it was done that way, and it may have been what some people involved wanted, but what we got was probably the result of the interplay of different forces with a considerable amount of randomness thrown in. In hindsight we could have done a better job, but we did end up doing a better job than some other places.

  • jonesey jonesey
    • Bob_Wallace

      Thanks for the link. Before taking a look I thought you were attributing the increase in solar use to gays and I just couldn’t make that connection…. ;o)

      • Zer0Sum

        Sydney is the Gay capital of the world. Didn’t you know Bob?

    • thanks. 😀 will update the post. 😀

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