Rooftop solar penetration grows in Australia

Rooftop solar power generation is on the rise in Australia. The country has been subjected to one of the most adverse price hikes for electricity and gas over the past five years, and people have been subjected to extensive increases in the price of electricity and gas. Network distribution companies have been charging extensively high prices of electricity in household bills, and these costs have been attributed to network distribution expenditure, which has often been referred to as ‘gold plating’ by analysts. However, this has no direct benefit for the consumer, and as a result, the consumer is paying higher prices for the same amount of electricity that they were consuming before. As a result, people have begun to opt for different sources of electricity, and being one of the sunniest countries in the world, Australians have turned towards solar power generation.

At present, one in five countries in South Australia has a rooftop solar system installed. For instance, in Melbourne, the adoption rates have increased even further, outstripping the inner city by a factor of 5:1. As the interim results were revealed of one of the largest private network operators, Spark Infrastructure, some very interesting data came to light on the penetration of rooftop solar photovoltaic systems within the southern states of Australia. As per the details revealed by Spark, which is the largest electricity distributor within the State, it stated that the level of solar penetration at a residential level in South Australia had grown by 19.2 percent, as on June 30, which confirms the estimates which state that one in every five houses in South Australia now has a rooftop solar system installed.

A year earlier, the level of penetration stood at 17.2 percent, and was responsible for another 4 percent fall in the volumes of electricity from residential customers. As the prices of electricity have increased, most people have opted to get rooftop solar systems installed within their homes, primarily because of the fact that they are unable to afford such high electricity household bills. Moreover, companies that sell rooftop solar photovoltaic systems have now begun to provide convenient discounts and installment packages. Most people just get their rooftop solar systems installed, then feed off the excess energy generated in to the grid, and the money generated through this is used to pay off their installments.

Many electricity companies are suffering as a result, as Origin, AGL and Power Cor (amongst various others) have all revealed significant drops in their customer bases, all because of the significant increases in the prices of electricity. The government has also set up the Renewable Energy Target, which aims to produce around 20 percent of all the electricity within Australia by 2020 with the help of renewable sources of energy. As the prices of electricity have increased massively, many people have been subjected to look for alternative options or to cut down their average daily usage to an affordable level. The alternative lies in wind and solar energy, as the trend suggests.

Record winds in South Australia this week

Wind farms have been on the rise in South Australia, as the government has set the Renewable Energy Target for 2020, which means that a lot of companies are setting up different initiatives in order to generate electricity with the help of renewable sources of energy. One of these is wind energy, and a number of wind farms have been established throughout Australia. This August, South Australia was capable of generating just a bit less than half of all its power needs with the help of wind energy, thanks to the large scale wind farms that are established within the region, as well as the fast winds that billowed through.

From 11th August 2013, both Victoria and South Australia beat the records for power generation via wind energy. The Policy Director of the Clean Energy Council, Russell Marsh stated that the wind farms in South Australia produced around 48 percent of all the power that was required in South Australia for the week, while the wind farms situated in Victoria were capable of generating around 10 percent of all the power needs. He stated that these results mean that the wind power initiative is bringing about fruitful results. Farmers who have opted to install wind turbines on their land are also capable of getting extra income because of this.

Mr. Marsh also stated that on a national level, the situation was looking very good as well. Wind power was capable of providing a record 7.6 percent of all the power that was generated within the whole of the National Electricity Market. During the period of one week, he emphasized that this equaled to powering around 2.3 million homes.

Only recently, a deal has been signed to construct the largest wind farm in the whole of the Southern Hemisphere, and now there is good reason for it. More and more people are capable of getting clean energy in their homes with the help of wind power generation, and it will also help the country in meeting the Renewable Energy Target by 2020. The Renewable Energy Target was set by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who stated that Australia should be capable of generating up to 20% of all its power needs with the help of renewable energy sources. Australia is one of the countries in which electricity is extremely expensive, and the increase in prices shows no signs of stopping.

Since 2008, the country’s electricity prices have been on the rise, with no precedent or control. Companies have been attributing these rising prices to the rising costs incurred as a result of the spending on their network infrastructure. However, with inefficient and excessive spending taking place on the network infrastructure that provides no actual benefits to the people, the government and the Australian Energy Regulator has now begun to take steps in order to control the rising prices of electricity. With numerous reforms being set in place, people are hopeful that the prices of electricity will become affordable again.

Queensland Price Hike

The State of Queensland is expected to undergo another price hike in the next month, with a rise of 22.6 percent expected to be enforced from July 1st. For the people of the State, this news could not have come at a worse time. The people are already reeling from the previous price hikes, which have more than doubled their overall electricity bills in the past five years, and businesses are rapidly collapsing as a result of these price hikes.

Most importantly, those businesses that are based primarily upon the use of round the clock electricity, such as storage and refrigeration service providers, the only option available for them is to either close operations or to increase their prices more than the expected range, which will result in a shortage of customers for them. The Premier, Campbell Newman has stated that he does accept partial responsibility for the increase in prices, stating that his government provided relief in the past year, and cannot be expected to continue the relief efforts especially judging by the carbon tax as well as the feed in tariff that was introduced by the previous government.

Electricity bills are likely to go up by more than $260 ever year as well. It is stated that the primary reason for the increase in prices is the network distribution costs that companies are focusing upon. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Queensland was quick to denounce the price hike, and stated that the implications that these prices are going to have on the overall business community within the region are going to be a lot worse than many can anticipate.

Moreover, Curtiss Pitt, who is the shadow treasurer of Queensland, has stated that the government has failed totally, and that Premier Campbell has failed to deliver upon the promises that he so lavishly  made before coming in to power. As a result of the price hike, many energy producing companies expect a reduction in the overall amount of customers that they cater to, since a lot of people are now moving towards the solar energy movement.

The damaging part of this scenario, apart from the price hike itself, is the fact that the Premier stated that the government doesn’t have ‘anything in mind’ in order to combat this situation and provide relief to the people. Even though he said that the government was going to meet with related officials in order to come to a solution regarding the rising prices of electricity within the region, it is highly unexpected that any change is going to take place.

Also, elections are scheduled to be held on September 14th, so it is very likely that throughout the year, the prices of electricity are going to stay at their increased level within Queensland. It is expected that by the end of the year in 2013, the final 30 Year Electricity Strategy plan is likely to be revealed, which will detail the plan that the government is going to follow.

Profits increase by 44% at ERM

A company with a net value of around $500 million, ERM Power is one of the largest ‘specialist electricity retailers’ that caters to businesses both big and small, while it also has its shares in power generation as well as gas exploration ventures/ businesses. The company just released its financial results, reporting an increase of around 34% in the volumes of sales, as well as a stunning 67% increase in the revenue, taking it up to $1.57 billion as well as an increase in the underlying net profit calculated after tax, which excludes significant items, taking up by 44 percent to $20 million. This massive increase in profits has resulted in the company being able to release dividends from 8.5 cents in 2012 to 10.5 cents in 2013.

The record level of sales volumes reported by ERM Power now set it as the fourth largest electricity retailer within the National Electricity Market. The large portion of the growth in the volume was achieved through the large business market in the traditional manner, but ERM power has slowly been moving in to the higher margin of the market for small businesses, which provides a very positive view for the future of this company.

Even though the main focus of the company still lies on retailing, the company still looks to expand its integration on a vertical level, primarily because of the power stations that are owned by the company. These power stations have performed reliably continuously and the company has also expanded by establishing a gas processing facility, which began to produce gas during the fiscal year of 2013. An announcement that was made on the Australian Stock Exchange also revealed that ERM Power had also bought out a stake of 7% in the oil exploration company entitled Empire Oil And Gas (ASX: EGO).

For investors who are looking to make a considerable investment, smaller sized companies that are primarily focused on niches such as ERM Power might well be worth their attention, as the company has continually expand and increase in size and volume. Australian Power and Gas, another niche company, was recently taken over by AGL Energy at a premium of 33%. These niche companies are capable of generating major profits and in a market that is continually being dominated by solar and power generation, primarily because of the rising prices that are charged by companies, these niche companies are silently taking up their market share.

The electricity situation within the country has been very dire, as the people have been paying extensively high prices for electricity. Companies have generally been attributing these costs to their network distribution expenditure, which is of no benefit to the consumer directly. As a result, most of the people have focused on getting solar power systems installed within their houses, and more importantly, wind power generation has also taken a considerable step up. At present, the country looks to recover from the losses sustained and aim for a viable power future.

Don’t let them Fool You! You are in for a Ride of Your Life!

We are not like the rest of the World. We are Australians, so get ready for the facts that will blow you away.Recent reports on the demand of electricity in Australia show that there has been a gradual decline in the demandfor electricity. Everyone is looking at everyone else, to ask the same question “What is going on? Are we heading in the right direction?” After all, isn’t it all about supply and demand?

If you are a consumer, it’s good news for you. It’s a buyers market, giving you a host of choices and bargains.Every energy company is queuing outside your door to get your attention and sell you their service. It may just work out super for you, as it has for so many Australian consumers and these are the reasons behind it.

You
Yes you, the average Australian consumer is now more conscious than ever to find ways and means to saveelectricity at home and business. Partnering with them are energy brokers who have the mandate to provide all relevant information to their consumers, so that they can make an informed and cost effective decision.

Better Homes
The best place to start is at home. More and more consumers are insisting on using energy efficient homeappliance. These appliances not only fulfill this purpose but are easier to use and more efficient in getting work done leaving their owners with a peaceful experience all month long.

Better Businesses
Business people are demanding better commercial buildings with much more stringent energy regulations which directly benefit their bottom line, as well as promoting a “greener image” of their business to their customers. It has led to businesses investing in their own energy supply mostly through Solar Power energy.

Better Government
Believe it or not, the government is on your side on this and is doing all that is possible; be it better lightingsystems, better water systems etc. Government is serious in its endeavour to provide cheap and renewable energy to its citizens.

A Surprise too
The Internet is also helping in driving the down the demand for electricity by providing you with alternatives to almost everything, like online shopping, online games, online bookings etc. All of this reduces the need to set up energy consuming structures, which drive the price and demand for electricity to the sky

Australia Falls Back to No.2 Position

Nobody likes to be No.2, let alone lose. In today’s World people only remember the ones who are No.1. Australia has its share in sports, media, education, buildings etc. We as a nation look to a brighter and better future. The secret of our success is commitment, handwork and eye on the ball.

There is one race that we were leading but now have follow back to No.2 position. This is the race to be the “Cleanest Energy Consuming Nation”. Germany leads the way not only for rest of Europe but also for the World. With its plan to produce eighty percent of energy from renewable sources by the year 2050; it will stand a giant among the nation states. This will not only benefit its economy and environment but will also give it a sustainable competitive advantage. A remarkable achievement for a country united just a few decades ago.

China too is fast on our heals as it hits its own target of 5 percent of capacity this year, which is already 3 years ahead of its schedule. It has already raised its target for year 2015 and moves full steam ahead to achieve it too before the deadline.

Our score, well not too bad, according to the Climate Change Authority, we produced 10 per cent of our total energy in 2010-11 from renewable energy sources. The target set is to make it 25 per cent of the total energy production by the year 2020. We are nearly half way there even before the start of the race. Go, Go Capitan planet…

But this is no time to be complacent. We need to set our goals even higher. Though some experts are coming out with the notion that due to the sudden decrease in energy consumption in Australia; it may be time to lower our targets and to aim for 20% rather than 25% as planned by 2020. Don’t let them sway you from being No.1 and don’t let them play the doom game in reverse with all of us.

 

We need to be more proactive in producing renewable sources of energy. While other Nations feel proud to make the necessary investment and policies. We should not shy away from the commitment and investment we have already made. We need to re-think only the means to our ends and not the end itself.

As we regain our lead in the race for the “Cleanest Energy Consuming Nation”, we must realise that it’s so fundamental for us to do this, as this is who we are and what we can give to our children and this World’s Children. We do not have to look back and waste time on romancing on what we have achieved in this field but we need to move ahead. Setting new standards and exploring new ideas to help not only us but also the people of this World in solving the greatest energy crisis that mankind has ever experienced.

The Benefits of Switching to A Cheaper Electricity Provider

With difficult financial conditions today it is difficult for a lot of people to keep up with the growing rates of every day necessities. Every cent counts for families and the most challenging things for a household budget manager or a housewife in Australia today is trying to keep up with the mounting bills that get bigger with each passing year. Belts need to be tightened and vacations need to be put on hold. These steps might seem drastic but when hit with touch economic times, these are some of the steps that a lot of families in Australia have to resort to. Read on to learn what can be done in order to increase your savings by reducing your electricity bills.

Utility Bills form the Biggest Part of Your Household Budget

One of the biggest components of any household budget today are the utility bills. No family can do without utility services if they want to continue to function so it is not possible to simply get rid of them all together. The best thing to do in order to address this growing issue is by reducing your usage of energy resources and by trying to find other means in which you can lower your bills each month so you can have some extra money each month for the family to enjoy. When you consider the savings throughout the year, the amount of money is quite significant and definitely something worth considering.

Why It is Important to Conserve Energy

One of the first things to do is to start in your own home and make changes that will help you conserve energy consumption. Be a responsible citizen and energy consumer. One of the biggest benefits that you will be able to enjoy with energy conservation is monetary savings. Another major advantage is that it will reduce the extreme damage to our planet and environment. When you minimize usage, less power needs to be generated. This means that energy providers would not need to burn as much fossil fuel or coal for generating energy.

Reducing Your Utility Bills

One of the best ways to ensure that you get lower electricity bills each month is by comparing an electricity supplier that offers the cheapest rates in your area and switching. With the competition increasing, electricity suppliers are offering cheaper electricity rates. As a consumer you are free to switch services. Your current provider might be charging you a very expensive electricity rate and this could be the biggest reasons why you have to face high bills each month. By opting for a company that offers you the cheapest rates you will be able to make a huge difference.
Quite a lot of companies use the greenest and cleanest sources to generate electricity and by switching to them you can not only save money but also ensure environment conservation. This single step will allow you to save a considerable amount of money each month.