Electricity industry must open its eyes to PV homes
Source: smh, 28 October 2013
Solar panels are revolutionising the Australian electricity market. The pace of change is faster than official projections, and the effects on customers and energy companies are profound and irreversible.
Australian homes and businesses have installed almost three gigawatts of rooftop solar photovoltaics - one of the highest rates in the world.
Solar panels have moved from being a fringe technology to a disruptive technology, challenging the way energy businesses operate. As with every revolution, the solar revolution is facing a reactionary response by the established order.
Last week the body charged with the development and maintenance of the national electricity market, the Australian Energy Market Commission, set out its priorities for developing the electricity market.
One sentence in the report grabbed my attention in particular: "Stakeholders are concerned that network costs of consumers with solar are cross-subsidised by other consumers, due to current inefficiencies in network tariffs.''
In other words, energy companies want households with solar panels to pay more to access the electricity grid than customers without solar. The idea is that because electricity pricing reflects the total volume of energy taken from the grid, households generating some energy are not paying their fair share of the cost of being connected to the network, and should therefore compensate those who buy more electricity.