Renewable energy in your home

Renewable energy in your home

The average Australian household’s energy use is responsible for over seven tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year. Buying green energy or installing renewable energy generation in your home, if feasible, can greatly reduce the amount of carbon you produce by reducing your call on fossil fuel generated electricity.

Renewable energy generally refers to electricity generated from renewable sources such as the sun, wind and water movement (hydro electricity plants such as the Snowy Mountains Scheme). These sources of energy are not diminished and do not produce massive carbon emissions in the electricity generation process.

To encourage uptake of renewable energy systems for the home, in particular rooftop solar panels, the Australian Government and respective state governments offer different incentives.

Photovoltaics

The Australian Government incentive is in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates (referred to as Solar Credits) that you can sell (often to the company managing and installing your solar panel – photovoltaic system) to recoup some of the cost of buying and installing the system. It is anticipated that the value of this program will be worth $6,000 – $8,000 for a 1.5Kw system (using the current REC price and Adelaide as an example) which greatly reduces the cost of your system.

The program is now in running with information on how it works available at the government’s website www.climatechange.gov.au.

The SA government has also put in place generous rates that you will receive for the net amount of energy your renewable energy system returns to the electricity grid. This system is generally referred to as a ‘feed in tariff’ where you receive approximately three times the price for your electricity you feed into the electricity grid compared to what you normally pay. For more information on the SA feed in tariff arrangements please refer to www.climatechange.sa.gov.au/index.php?page=feed-in-scheme. The scheme is currently being reviewed by the SA government.

It is worth understanding how your household will consume energy throughout the average day as this will influence the amount you receive as a feed in tariff. For example, a solar panel system will produce the greatest feed in tariff if you reduce your energy consumption throughout the sunniest part of the day – this allows most of the energy produced to be exported to the electricity grid, gaining you the highest possible feed in tariff.

An alternative or complimentary approach, to installing home based renewable energy is to find out what ‘Green Energy’ deals are available from your local electricity retailers. Green Energy is generally considered as electricity generated from renewable resources such as wind farms, solar farms and hydro electricity generators. You will typically have a choice to purchase all of your electricity as Green Power or a portion of it – costs vary across different retailers.