Northern Inland Business Energy Assessment
Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDA-NI) conducted a NSW Department of Industry funded study on cutting energy costs for businesses. The report looks at forms of energy that a range of businesses around the region are using, ways they could reduce their energy costs and their potential for becoming involved with renewable energy.
The report has a number of charts and decision making diagrams to help a business through the steps they can take to reduce their energy costs. It also outlines how to access funding for energy efficiency improvement measures within a business. The report/s can be downloaded below or you can contact us for further information.
How Good are Your Solar Panels?
Like most things, the quality of solar panels can vary significantly. How do you know if the panels you are being offered are of goo quality?
The following diagram shows a simple calculation you can do based on some of the figures in the specification sheet that comes with solar panels. This will give you an initial indication of the quality.
Other things to consider are the warranty on the panels/system, and the quality of the inverter which accompanies the system. Also, is the inverter 'battery ready' should you want to add battery storage at a later date.
Workshop Presentation Slides
Below is a link to the slides used in the workshop presentations for this project at Uralla, Tamworth, Bingra & Narrabri. Download and run them in Slideshow mode in Powerpoint for full effect.
Changes to Your Electricity Meter for Those on the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme
Some owners of solar systems are on the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme where they are paid either 60 or 20c/kWh for all the electricity their system produces.
This scheme is ending on December 31 2016.
Here is a link to a very good article answering the questions about having to get a new meter when the scheme ends - http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/nsw-solar-bonus-scheme-ends-this-year-what-are-your-options-85163
The key points are:
- People on the 60 an 20c/kWh Solar Bonus Scheme currently have what is called a ‘gross metering setup’ as all of their solar energy is sent to the grid and they get paid for all of it.
- When the scheme ends at the end of 2016, if they want to get paid for any excess electricity they are not using which is put back into the grid, they need to swap to a ‘net metering setup’. When this happens they will only get somewhere around 0-8c/kWh for any surplus electricity going back into the grid (not 20 or 60c), hence it is now better to maximise the use of their solar power within their own home or business rather than sending it to grid for such a small payment. This is why battery storage will become more important.
- The new net meters may cost you anywhere from $170-700. A local electrician indicated $500 for a single phase meter and $1000 for a three-phase meter.
- These meters are owned by Essential Energy (even though the household/business pays for the change of meter type).
- Some electricity retailers are offering to supply the new meter if you switch your account over to them, and some of them say the meter is free. But you need to check the fine print as the cost could be built into the cost of your quarterly electricity bill through higher daily connection or per kWh fees.
- Smart meters are also being rolled out in NSW, but are not the same as Time-of-Use meters (which is the type of meter you are likely to get when changig to the net metering setup unless you specifically request a smart meter). Smart meters allow you to access more detailed information on your electricity use. They may also allow the energy distributor (Essential Energy) to remotely switch off some appliances if peak demands get too high. You will also have to pay if you want a smart meter installed. Smart meters will not be owned by Essential Energy, but by the company who supplies the meter.
Bottom line – when the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme ends, the meter change is unlikely to be free, unless you switch electricity retailers and you can confirm they will supply the meter with no extra charges.