Australia’s household energy prices have skyrocketed over the last decade.
Although electricity prices remained relatively stable for nearly 30 years, by 2013 we saw them swell by an average of 72 percent on 2007 figures, and gas by 54 percent. These surges were largely due to investment in the network and the carbon pricing policy in 2012. We had a short-lived respite in 2014 when the carbon price was repealed and the average national residential electricity price dropped, but since then it has climbed again by 4.4 percent as ageing power assets began to need replacing.
And much to the anguish of residential energy customers, it looks like this upward trend is going to continue. The closing of Victoria’s Hazelwood power station and South Australia’s Northern and Playford stations has meant that the Australian Energy Markets Commission has gloomily forecast an annual average increase of 2.5 percent by 2019.
Solar power: a clean way to sidestep rising retail energy prices
Solar power saves between 200 and 300 MtCO2 of global emissions every year – that’s the equivalent of three-quarters of Australia’s annual CO2 emissions, so the environmental benefits of solar alone may be enough to make you think about adding panels to your rooftop.
But that’s not all: installing a solar panel system can also reduce your electricity bill. Over the last five years, the overall cost of solar power has fallen so dramatically that it’s now cheaper than retail power in all Australian capital cities except Canberra (which enjoys the lowest retail prices in the country).
We’ve been quick to get on board: the Australian Energy Council reports that nearly 15% of the country’s households have installed solar panels – that’s more than 1.5 million homes enjoying the benefits of producing their own solar energy, reducing both their carbon footprint and their electricity bills.
A great time to go solar
The price of solar modules is a whopping 75% lower than it was in 2011, so it’s a better time than ever before to go solar. And not just that – solar modules can now do more. Due to a huge reduction in system prices, the average size of a starter solar panel plus inverter package has grown from 1.5 kW to between 4 kW and 5 kW, a size that is more likely to have an impact on your power bill. A Choice survey of 700 households with solar PV found the average time it took for the system to pay for itself period was 3 years and two months.
Adding a battery to your system will help you to use more of what you generate yourself, reducing your electricity bills even further. In fact, the Climate Council reports that adding a 4 kWh battery to a 5 kW solar system can increase the amount of self-generated solar electricity a household consumes to up to 60 percent. Although the price of solar batteries is falling fast, it’s still a substantial investment, and whether to get one now or later will depend on your own personal circumstances.
Our specialist EnergyAustralia Solar advisors can help you decide if your circumstances are right for solar and what level of investment you’ll need to make to get the best benefit. They can also talk you through financing options that could help you benefit from clean, renewable solar energy and storage sooner.