|About 20% of Australian residential rooftops are equipped with solar panels, where solar PV is already cost competitive with retail electricity rates.|
Australia is blessed with abundant natural resources, including renewable resources such as sun, wind, and hydrokinetic power. Like the rest of the world, however, the continent is suffering the effects of climate change, so it’s imperative that those resources be used in a manner that will impose the least impact on the country’s delicate environment.
One company working to leverage those resources in the most efficient way possible is Sunstainable, a renewable energy provider in Victoria, on Australia’s south-eastern coast. Energy Insight spoke with Sunstainable to learn more about the challenges and prospects facing the world’s sixth largest country.
EI – What do you see as the greatest challenges facing the Australian solar industry?
Sunstainable -There’s a large number of opportunistic businesses that think they can make a quick dollar in solar; they set up shop then find that it’s not as easy as they thought so they close their doors and move onto something else. Normally these businesses have used the lowest cost materials of questionable quality. Thus, at the end of the day it is the consumer who ends up out of pocket when their system malfunctions and their is no-one to service the warranty.
EI – What do you think the government can do to help address those issues?
Sunstainable – The removal of subsidies (now a reality) will hopefully make solar less attractive to the fly by nighters that we have seen in the past 18 months. Continued stable policy from the government will allow the industry to invest for the long term. Also, stronger regulation of the quality of products that are allowed to be imported.
EI – Where do you see the solar industry heading in the next 5 years? 10 years?
Sunstainable – There will continue to be a strong uptake of solar in the residential sector in the next 5 years. Currently about 20% of viable residential roofs have solar, so there is still some way to go before saturation and as power prices continue to rise more people will be looking at ways to reduce their bills. Also, as power prices rise businesses will see the value of installing solar. There are very few commercial installations at the moment, so there is a lot of potential in this sector. Solar PV is currently cost competitive with retail electricity costs; ABARE’s (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences) latest report predicts that solar PV will be competitive with wholesale electricity costs within the next 8 to 10 years.
EI – What are your thoughts about the renewable energy industry as a whole and its impact on the economy, on the environment, and on our daily lives?
Sunstainable – The renewable energy industry is undervalued by politicians and media alike. We are an easy target to blame for energy increases when in fact the impact on consumers is small. The industry is growing and has now built momentum. This, coupled with stable government policy that allows the industry to invest with confidence, will allow us to grow, employ more people, and generate more and more clean energy.
Sunstainable was started in 2010 by Peter Elliott to provide quality solar power systems and energy efficient products to homes and business at affordable prices. It does this through smart business practices, not cutting corners. The companies motto is Solar Power By the Book. Sunstainable works closely with its suppliers to provide quality value for money solar power systems that last. Sunstainable’s installation teams are all CEC certified and most importantly are