Solar 2017: The year that was and future horizons
2017 has certainly been a record-breaking year not only for Solgen Energy Group, but for the industry as a whole. In our project business alone, Solgen Energy Group has reached another year of high double-digit year-on-year growth with capacity built out for further growth in 2018. As 2017 fast comes to a close, our installation and operations teams are now hard at work to get systems installed before the holiday break.
Similarly, the industry has been breaking records with this year seeing the country set to smash its highest amount of solar commissioned in a year. The previous 2012 record of 1.058GW was fuelled by a rush in Queensland, when householders raced to get in before the government closed its 44-cent premium feed-in tariff, and government fuelled risk around the future of the small-scale technology certificates, the primary renewables support mechanism at that time.
This record-breaking year for solar PV illustrates that solar technology is now delivering on its promise. Australian electricity consumers that buy power from the grid now face some of the highest electricity prices in the world, and also the most emission intensive. But if they buy it via a Solar PV system it is some of the lowest cost in the world and with no carbon emissions at all.
This year we saw Australia’s energy prices soar due to variety of reasons including lack of government policy, rising wholesale prices due from the available energy mix and ongoing electricity network infrastructure costs. These factors delivered a rise in electricity prices between 12-20% for businesses compared to the previous period and the highest they have been in over two decades. With uncertainty surrounding government policy and the newly introduced National Energy Guarantee (NEG), commercial solar installations have been on the rise, with many businesses choosing to have greater control of their electricity costs using renewables.
So far, this year commercial-sized systems represent 28 per cent of all capacity installed for systems up to 100kW. Back in 2012 they made up just 3 per cent. This is notable because business customers will often face much lower energy-related charges that can be a third to a half lower than residential retail energy charges.
As we have seen this last month, businesses like Coastal Cold Storage are installing bigger on-site solar systems, and even pairing them with potential battery storage, not just to slash power costs, but potentially to generate a further revenue stream by selling excess renewable energy to the local grid. Finance options are commonly introduced including using an Environmental Upgrade Agreements.
Similarly, Universities are also progressing with renewables, in particular leading the way in new ways with PPA’s, solar farms and micro-grid systems all in an effort to promote and contribute to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Even more exciting is the year to come as we have bigger and better projects this year with a large amount of installations falling into the power station category due to the amount of electricity they generate. Some of our notable projects this year include Brisbane Markets with 1.6MW. For 2018 we have already commenced planning for projects with over 4MW to commence in the education sector in the first quarter of next year alone and more on the horizon.
We are looking forward to a busy 2018 with our capability and experience only growing thanks to our loyal customer base. If your business is looking to save on electricity and operating costs contact our energy experts for a free assessment.