How Synergy and Alinta will compete for WA's solar market
As the price of electricity keeps rising, the cost of relevant technology begins to fall and climate change continues to be on everybody’s mind, the financial and environmental benefits of solar power has never been more recognised.
Over 1.4 million Australian homes have rooftop solar panels, which is a significant increase compared to an estimated 1500 back in 20015. Western Australia leads the way in this category, as approximately 20 per cent of homes have some sort of green technology on their rooftops.
With an average annual solar installation growth rate of 27 per cent, an estimated 1800 solar photovoltaic systems were put in every month of this year.
Because of this, WA Energy Minister Mike Nahan envisions the state’s daytime electricity needs will be completely provided by solar power in the next 10 years. Leading the way in this process is the state-owned energy company Synergy, which is preparing to offer a package of solar home-battery storage systems once they become more affordable by the middle of 2016.
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A rival company, Alinta Energy, will also make a play for a portion of the market share, as the Sydney-based company intends to sell or lease solar panel systems ranging from one to five kilowatts.
Although the gas retail company can’t sell electricity to households until 2018 when the market becomes deregulated, Alinta plans on selling consumers a product to generate electricity instead of providing electricity itself.
In WA, the government subsidises electricity costs of about $600 million a year, which equates to roughly $500 per household. With the strain this puts on the state’s finances along with the rising popularity of solar panels, the WA government is considering cutting its subsidy program and closing several of its power stations.
“This government has done more for renewable energy in this state than any other, including the Australian-first trial to examine battery storage and energy efficiency incentives for consumers at Alkimos Beach, north of Perth,” said Nahan. “Reform to the electricity industry is an important issue for this government. Any decision to close generation plants will be considered in due course, and in the best interests of the state.”