The government in Australia offers renewable energy credits that allow solar panels to be subsidized so that people can cheaply purchase a solar rooftop system.
There are actually programs like that in the U.S. as well and in different states and electric utilities. In fact if you have an iphone there is a useful app for finding this out. It’s called, “WattRebate”
The rooftop systems with subsidies in place allow the cost per kilowatt hour to go down from typical grid prices of 30 cents per kilowatt hour to around 15 cents per kilowatt hour when you add in all costs.
Keep in mind the subsidies coming from tax payers is not figured into this price. Considering solar is now half the cost of regular on the grid electricity and people can get loans for about 7 % interest for a rooftop solar system it is making a lot of sense to get one of these solar systems.
In a month Australia will be ending the subsidies for these systems and I would also consider that current solar panels in production are not very efficient or cheap.
New technological break through in battery storage technology and in cheaper but more efficient solar panels is only a few short years a way from going onto retail shelves.
Considering the added benefit of plug and play easy USB solar systems soon to come that are cheap, more efficient, and simple to install it makes sense for places like Texas to admire Australia but hold off a bit. Go ahead and jump for joy but still keep that wad of hundreds in your pocket a little longer.
We don’t need to subsidize inefficient solar technology that will soon become extremely outdated and eclipsed by much more efficient and affordable technology.
I predict very soon we will all start hooking up solar to our rooftops and may be able to go into Lowe’s or Home Depot to purchase the equipment and easily install it ourselves as easy as we would clip on some rain gutters to our roof.
Government subsidies probably will not even be needed anymore as the panels will finally be priced reasonably enough but the idea of a tax credit which we currently have could go a long way in encouraging everyone to adopt the technology when it finally makes sense to buy it.
The deep cycle batteries you need for a totally off-grid system are also still very expensive. Even if you can’t buy a cheap deep cycle battery or two you still have the option of sending much of the excess energy you create back on the grid which can be credited to your account and reduce your monthly electric bill.
I applaud Australia’s adoption of solar although I do wonder if in 5 years they will come to realize that those in the U.S. have done the same thing as they have but it cost the citizens and government about 10 times less to do it.
In summary, coal has dramatically taken a backseat in the energy industry and it did not require much fighting to do it simply because natural gas is cleaner and cheaper and has dominated the industry as of late.
I believe natural gas will be an awesome transition fuel for generating electricity as we wait patiently for the time when solar will finally be the number one off-grid and perhaps on-grid renewable electricity source in America.