What are the options for owners of existing solar?
Many feed-in tariffs are ending
In NSW in particular, they had feed in tariff schemes where you were paid for the electricity your solar panels made no matter whether that electricity went out into the grid or went into your house. And that was fantastic because all of that problem with having to use your (solar) electricity in the middle of the day didn’t apply. It just meant that if it was sunny then you got paid for the electricity produced from your solar panels. Those schemes are ending, starting at the end of this year (2016). And they’re changing back to the type of net-metering schemes that I’ve talked about. And so for people that used to have these “gross” feed-in tariff schemes, suddenly things are going to change very significantly and to get the most out of their solar they will have to start changing their behaviour and try to use energy in the middle of the day. If they can’t do that then their best solution is to consider getting some battery storage so they can save up their solar for when they get home later that night. If they don’t change their behaviour at all, it means their electricity bill is likely to go up quite dramatically, because there’s going to be this big mismatch between the solar generation and when they’re using it.
What options are there?
So if someone’s already got solar, they can do nothing, which probably means they’re not getting the most out of their solar. The next step I would say would be to try and adjust what loads they can to be in the middle of the day when the solar is producing its most. After they’ve done that then they should really consider purchasing a battery system for their house.
Options for homeowners installing a battery
There are a couple of options when they purchase such a battery system
– They can add a battery system without interfering with their existing solar, so the battery system would sit in parallel next to it and you don’t have to touch the existing solar – that’s one option. The disadvantage of that option is that things like backup power from your battery are usually not available.
– The alternative is that we come along and we reconfigure the existing solar system and add batteries and a new inverter to it. The advantage of that is services like backup power can be provided but of course then we have to reconfigure the solar system that you already had.