So­lar plan switched on

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

THE Queens­land Gov­ern­ment has a goal to have a mil­lion homes in Queens­land with so­lar pan­els.

Energy Min­is­ter Mark Bai­ley also con­firmed at the So­lar 2015 con­fer­ence in Mel­bourne that the Gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to gen­er­at­ing 50 per cent of the State’s energy from re­new­ables by the year 2030.

To achieve these goals, the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment is urg­ing the public to con­sider So­lar Power Pur­chase Agree­ments ( SPPAs), which have been pop­u­lar in coun­tries such as the US and now Aus­tralia.

An SPPA is when a cus­tomer has a so­lar sys­tem in­stalled on their roof for $ 0 and locks in a low- cost con­tract with their so­lar/ energy com­pany to pur­chase the elec­tric­ity the so­lar sys­tem cre­ates. The so­lar sys­tem is then mon­i­tored and main­tained by the energy com­pany.

The con­tracts vary in length from seven to 15 years.

SPPAs are not for ev­ery­body, but with mod­i­fi­ca­tions and the use of smart timers and small lifestyle changes, cus­tomers can achieve sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings.

For ex­am­ple, timers can be used to max­imise ap­pli­ances such as hot- wa­ter sys­tems and pool pumps to op­er­ate while so­lar sys­tems are work­ing to achieve great re­sults. Cus­tomers can also pro­gram dish­wash­ers, wash­ing ma­chines and dry­ers to op­er­ate dur­ing day­lights hours and to fin­ish in time for when you get home from work.

SPPAs are go­ing to be a game- changer for cus­tomers who may not be able to af­ford a so­lar sys­tem out­right. For many cus­tomers, SPPAs are go­ing to achieve sim­i­lar sav­ings to those with so­lar sys­tems. They are also pop­u­lar for busi­ness own­ers, who can achieve large sav­ings in energy costs with­out hav­ing to spend cap­i­tal on a so­lar sys­tem, in fact up to 60 per cent of their power bill. Busi­ness own­ers can put cap­i­tal to­wards grow­ing their busi­ness in other ar­eas.

For some cus­tomers, you will be able to lock in rates as low as 12 to 16 cents a kWh dur­ing day­light hours. Cur­rently, home and busi­ness own­ers are pay­ing any­where be­tween 25 to 45 cents a kWh for day­time elec­tric­ity. The sav­ings are sig­nif­i­cant. JOHN HO­RAN, Idalia.

CON­TRACT: So­lar Power Pur­chase Agree­ments are catch­ing on in Aus­tralia.

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