Working in the energy industry in regional Australia, I have seen the country emerge as a leader in the solar revolution. Even two years ago, solar was still a relative unknown. It was common to encounter people who would clearly benefit from solar but who delayed the purchase because they were unsure about the technology.
What’s changed? First, solar prices have kept dropping dramatically – almost 150 per cent in the past three years. Second, utility prices are exorbitant. Some businesses have seen their rates double in the past six months alone. Third, people are seeing solar work for others. Fourth, the market has matured and professional operators are delivering quality systems, sound technical follow through and comprehensive customer service.
The upshot is that country people can see how solar saves their communities money and works without a hitch for a much lower price tag.
The economics of solar have become so strong that we have seen farmers getting returns as good or better than during the 60 cent feed-in tariffs. It’s also meant innovations like PayG Solar are becoming common. This allows businesses to install solar for no upfront cost, save money on electricity immediately and then own the systems outright in seven years or less. We’ve seen massive growth in these and conventional systems across NSW and VIC with towns like Dubbo, Mildura, Walgett and Ballarat leading the way.
Skepticism is a powerful and effective strategy that helps people work out things that have real value. Solar has now passed the skepticism test, and for most people in regional Australia it’s now a question of when, not if, they’ll get solar.