Political Social

The Great Solar Panel Swindle

“Hurry… Get your Solar Panels today and cash in on the government rebate BEFORE it’s to late!”

We’ve all seen the adverts plastered across our TV screens and swamping the radio waves and by all accounts it sounds like a great offer… almost to good to miss.

I mean, the Federal government is giving away about $6500 per installation (on a retail cost of say $8000) which only leaves you or me paying $1500 to get the job done – an absolute bargain isn’t it?

And there’s more. On top of this federal rebate, the various states will chuck in a few bob to sweeten the deal and here’s the deal maker, the electricity supply companies will PAY YOU for the electricity you produce but don’t use..! Wow… FREE MONEY.

Sounds to good to be true so where’s the catch if there is one at all?

Well, lets look at some of the facts:

  • You need sun to generate solar power from the solar panels – duh. The sun however only shines during the day – duh. So you might make excess power during the day BUT still consume power during the evening/night.
  • In the early days electricity cost around 12c/kW for us consumers and the electricity rebate for unused power from your solar panels was bought back from you for anything up to 50c/kW.
  • So arguably, you did not run any services during the day and got the maximum rebate, which then more than covered any expenses occurred in the evenings. People were making money and lots of it.

But as always, things change and the cost of electricity grew to around 26c/kW today and the rebate from the electricity supply companies dropped to ZERO…! Yup, a big fat ZERO.

This then means:

  • We now PAY MORE for our electricity we consume in the evening/night AND we get nothing back for what we generate but don’t use, during the day!
  • Now we have to shift our usage pattern once again, this time to maximise consumption during daylight hours… but we are still left with using lights etc in the evening.
  • And here’s the fun bit, the excess electricity we generate during the day gets returned to the supply grid FOR FREE. The big winner here is the electricity supply company.

Or is it?

Ask yourself this, who was behind all this right from the get go? Remember the federal government and their amazing generosity in giving away $6500 to everybody who purchased a solar power system? Ever wondered what was in it for them, because rest assured… the government is not about to give away cash unless it gets a healthy return?

And that’s just it. The government has a social obligation to supply electricity to the masses (irrespective of any sort of privatisation arrangement) and that costs money, lots of money. So you do the maths,  the government gives away a few million in rebates today, writes it off at tomorrows prices, and avoids having to spend billions on new power sources in the near future.

Not only does that make sense for the treasury today, but those little solar panels have a 20 year life span and will keep producing electricity for most of that time, WHICH WILL KEEP POURING BACK INTO THE NATIONAL GRID, saving the government trillions over the longer term.

So what just happened…

The Australian Government has just got all of us doing their work for them, that’s what happened. Instead of them managing our energy needs on a national scale and building wind farms or solar arrays… they have just thrown a few bucks at Joe Public and allowed us to do it for ourselves.

I’ll let you decide who the big winner here is…

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