Is this the death of Solar in Australia?

They have been talking about it for a while now, but it seems the laws are being put in place that will mean we can be charged a SUN TAX for feeding power into the grid.

Why do we go the solar route?

There are many reasons why people put solar panels on their roofs, or around their homes. I am fairly sure that one of the biggest ones is to save money. However, the chances of that with the changes that have been made and will be made make that highly unlikely anymore.

Doing it so you can go off-grid or for the environment are also good reasons for making the change.

We did it for the environment. We wanted to stop using coal-fired power for our electricity. Around 4 years ago we spend approximately $13,000 to put on a 5 kW system. Then the following year we paid almost the same for another 5 kW system so that would mean we had 34 panels on our roof. I have shown this before, but here is the photo of our roof.

Get your power from the sun

We have spent a lot of money on these panels. Though we did it for the environment, we also wanted to get some money back for the power that we sent to the grid. That way it would cover us for the times we imported more than exported.

Feeding into the grid

There are good reasons for doing this.

One you are providing clean energy for the country.

You could be helping others.

Three, you can get paid and that will all go towards paying off your investment if you can call it that.

Part of the reason for going solar is so you can reduce how much money you spend on electricity. Here in Australia, ever since it was privatised the price per unit for electricity has just kept going up and up.

We would like to spend almost nothing on power now. In fact the first twelve months of having all those panels we did pay nothing.

Feed-in tariff

This is the amount of money you get from the energy companies for feeding your power into the grid.

When we first went solar we were getting 11 cents per kWh, and paying over 26 cents for every kWh we imported from the grid.

Then we got a price hike, it went to 12 cents. Then, I think iin Juy last 2020, it went DOWN to 10 cents per kWh. That wasn’t too bad as they had also put the price of the power from the grid down to just over 22 cents.

Now, this past July they have reduced it again to 6 cents per kWh. I went through all my bills and put in the 6 cents and we will be paying for electricity every month now.

They have said the reason for this is that they are getting too much power being fed into the grid. So instead of upgrading their systems to deal with it, they are going to pay us less for it.

Now here is the Sun Tax

This is the latest we have been told. They are going to start charging us for feeding our clean power into the grid. Meanwhile, power from gas or coal will be allowed to continue to be fed into the grid for free.

What hope do people have?

They are going to offer people a choice. You can feed your power to the grid for free, but only a limited amount or you have a fee to feed it in.

Apparently, it is unfair that some people can have solar panels and some can’t. Really that is their argument. I say is it fair that some people can own a house while others have to rent? Why are they so concerned about what some people have now and not others.

If it happens we will be looking at how much we get charged and we may actually switch off the power to the grid so they get none of it.

In the end

The more changes they make means the fewer people are going to take up solar. Why would anyone spend all that money if there was no return for it. It is sad to see.

Especially when we have a Prime Minister that adores coal. His recent remarks were that as long as they could find a buyer for it they would keep digging it up. I just want the rest of the world to put sanctions on us, make it hard for them to export our fossil fuels.

It is so sad to think we live in a country that could generate so much solar. So much in fact that one billionaire is working on how to power Singapore with energy created in Australia. I’ve heard that Australia could generate enough solar in one day to power the world for a year, yet we have a government that isn’t interested in clean energy.

In fact, this government, and we have to put the states in this as well, will do everything they can to make it hard for people to use solar. They certainly don’t stop the power companies from almost penalising us for using clean energy.

It is a sad time indeed. Let’s hope people wake up soon and through elections, we can get a government that cares as much for the environment as the people do.

All the photos are of the solar panels on our house.

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    1. It is very insane. Though it is more because of privatisation, so the private power companies deciding on this and the government not stepping in to stop them. Something really needs to be done. Thank you Khürt.

    1. They want to charge us for feeding out power into the grid at certain times. They reckon the grid can’t cope with it, so instead of upgrading it all they are going to charge us.

    2. It’s good! I am waiting for the screen guard to arrive. Shall resume photography in 10 days.

      Our COVID numbers are reducing

    3. I got the XT-4. Here, because of the dust and crowd, I need UV filter and screen guards while doing much street and travel work. I can see this slowly replacing my Nikon. The question remains, what shall I do with my Nikon?

    4. That’s a good camera, I have the one below it. That makes sense about the filter. I have to say I rarely use my Nikon now, mainy and only for macro really.

    5. I plan to use the Nikon for portrait and some landscape.

      But, in general, I see the Fuji being my main camera. And I see all future investments happening with the Fuji

    6. Yes. That was my first impression. I held it and said, wow. This is light.

      Plus, I found it comfortable to hold.

      I went through the menu, which I am still learning. It gives you lots of flexibility

    7. The menu can seem weird, but that happens with any new camera from a different brand, you will get used to it, of course, there is always google. lol

    1. It is sad, and yeah I think you might be right, I think a lot of world leaders are cut from that cloth too. Thank you.

  1. We’re in the same position. It’s so annoying when we are in the position to generate so much clean energy and governments are intent on doing the opposite.

    1. Oh absolutely, so sad. I can’t believe that we are going to be penalised because we want to do something good for the planet. It would be almost like tobacco companies charging us because we stopped smoking. Fingers crossed that the next election brings some changes. Thank you Carol.

  2. I remember reading about some South or Central American Countries where people had to pay for the caught rainwater falling on their roof. Your situation looks disturbingly similar. I will not be surprised if they even require you buy some minimum amount of electric from the grid no matter how much you are able get from your own solar panels.

    1. It does, doesn’t it. I suspect we will end up having to pay to just stay connected to the grid because we have solar panels. I hear they are doing that in Nova Scotia in Canada. I wouldn’t be surprised about that as well. It is so sad. Thank you.

  3. I am so sad to read this Leanne. We spent a bundle on solar panels for our roof too and were ostracized by our entire neighborhood – they thought the solar panels were a “distracting” look and brought down the surrounding house values… why is is always about money?) We did it for the environment and the bonus was no electric bills for the four sunniest months of the year! I am so sad to hear that Australia’s PM is so hot on coal. I wonder how many generations we will have to wait until there are leaders who take the environment seriously. Thank you for sharing this enlightening information.

    1. It is really sad. We spent a bundle on our panels too. Though we are lucky that panels are becoming more of the norm here and lots of people are putting them on their houses. Maybe you need to start showing your neighbours your electricity bills. It is amazing how many people put looks ahead of the environment and then complain about how much their electricity bills cost. Our PM is such disgrace, we need him gone. Good luck with your neighbourhood and thank you for sharing that.

  4. Thanks for this Leanne… I’m frankly gobsmacked by this saga of lack of encouragement for renewables in favour of coal. I guess, as always, someone has tapped into the politicians and they’re in the hands of then coal miners, but it’s outrageous. The trouble is what can you do? We installed PV nearly 12 years ago, and I’m sure you’d agree that apart from generating your own energy, it’s actually made us much more energy aware, and efficient. So to renege on payment rates and even fine you for exporting to the grid is appalling. Sounds like you need Greta Thunberg over there, whipping up a storm..
    best wishes

    1. You’re welcome Julian. We are too, it seems it doesn’t matter how much the scientists say we need to do something our politicians won’t listen. Yeah tapped in for sure, in the form of “donations” by those companies. Apparently here if a fossil fuel company makes that donation that will get it back 1000 times over. It is just so wrong. Oh yes, it is amazing how much you start taking notice of how much energy you use. I think the only thing that is going to save us is a revolution or a much better government. Thank you Julian, we need some changes.

    2. Thanks Leanne, we could certainly do with another PM if not government, here, too, but the sense around here is that we’re living in an age of lightweight politicians and very negative media coverage of everything, which would discourage anyone with half a brain of decency ever considering going into politics. So we’re lumbered, unless we end up going the other route, and end up with Putin or Xing type control.
      Not much fun either way, eh?😊

    3. I think it is very similar here Julian. I think the thing that would change everything is if politicians were made accountable for their actions. They might be more likely to do the right thing then.
      Yeah, it seems to take a special person to become a politician, sadly.

  5. Thanks for this informative and amazing post. Solar power is still a distant thing where we live, although advertising is becoming more prevalent. Also, we do have a solar-powered gadget attached to our garage, through which power for itself is garnered every day. It is only a motion light, but remarkable. Why are leaders the world over dedicated to their own profit rather than the larger good of the planet?

    1. It is amazing when you see people who live in places like Alaska that have solar power, plus generators I guess and living off grid. The technology is there, it just needs to come down in price. It is sad that it isn’t becoming more like that. That’s good that you have some solar, it is a start. It all helps. Leaders here are being paid in “donations” from fossil fuel companies, and if they want that money then they have to give back. Really they should be called bribes. They don’t care about the planet because when it all goes to hell they will no longer be in power, but from their time in power they will have got enough money to protect themselves. It is a very sad reflection of politics these days. Thank you Pat.

    2. Like everything else, these wonderous innovations exist primarily for the benefit they can provide the rich businesses. Its all about making money. Bleeding hearts like me dream of a day when all mankind will benefit from the bounty of the Earth…as if that will ever happen. Alas once we get to a distant planet, after we kill everyone/thing (assuming they did already kill us) we will proceed to drag our crap from Earth and steal anything of value. grumble…

    3. It is a sad reflection of our world really, that we are going to let it get to a point where it will be hard to survive on all because some people want to make money.Of course those people who are rich will be fine they will have the money to make sure they are, even though they are the most guilty of raping our planet.

    4. human nature, I suppose. The rich get richer…etc. The reason assorted poor peasants stay poor because of exploitation by the rich. That makes me sick just thinking about it.

    5. I don’t know about human nature, but definitely, the way our society is structured too. We also have a problem of people who don’t really follow politics and then vote for people who don’t have their interests at all, like the orange man. All those people who follow him, and really they are just a vote to him, otherwise, he doesn’t care about them at all, but they all think he is fantastic. It is unbelievable.

  6. How terrible. Solar power as you can imagine offers less here though people still have panels on roofs. Australia being so sunny it would be a wonderful way to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. As you say maybe a change at the top will alter things.

    1. I know, it is so crazy that Australia aren’t world leaders in solar. We were once, about 30 years ago, but that has all changed now. Yeah, I can imagine it would be harder in the UK for solar, but still some is better than none I suppose. I hope changes do come and soon. Bring on the election. Thank you RJ.

  7. This is absolutely ridiculous, Leanne! If I were in your situation, I would shut the panel system down. Your government is as crooked as ours in it’s own ways it seems. I’ve never been a big fan of solar power as a full-time replacement for powering towns and cities, rather, it’s a good way to augment power coming from other sources. I’m interested to hear what you do with your system. Be safe and well, my friend.

    1. We wouldn’t shut down our system John, though we can stop feeding the excess to the grid, then they don’t get our power for peanuts. Our government is so crooked it is unbelievable. One of the most corrupt ones in the world I think. Thankfully we have an election coming up, though I doubt it will change much. There are places here in Australia that can survive for short periods of time with just solar, wind and batteries. We are getting there. It is battery technology that is lagging I think. Thank you John, you be safe too.

  8. I think,need civil movements for this case (like civil movements for refused vaccine mandate).

    1. I don’t think it would matter in Australia, because our government has shown time and again how they don’t care what we think or want. Thanks.

  9. Thanks so much for sharing this very interesting topic. I just built a new home that I wanted to incorporate solar panels. My husband researched it and decided that the cost over return didn’t work. My question is, can you use what energy generated in the panels and cut off power from the city? I’m sure it’s not doable or it would be done by more people.

    1. Yeah we can stop feeding power to the grid, and keep using it at home, so that is an option we might look into. It is sad that it is turning so many people off because it really doesn’t make sense to do it now. Thanks for your thoughts Ginger.

  10. They tried that in California too. They wanted to reduce the payment given to the homeowner for giving energy into the grid. There was an outcry and they (the Governor and State Legislature) tabled it for now. It’s not just Australia it’s everywhere.

    1. There was a bit of an outcry here, but we just keep getting told it isn’t fair on people who can’t afford solar panels. I don’t know why it isn’t fair when they don’t care about anything else with the haves and have nots. It is so frustrating. Unfortunately here it is private companies doing it, because it was all privatised, but our governments aren’t stepping in to stop them either. Thanks Anne.

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