Can Australia be the world’s first ‘solar & storage native’?

Source: RenewEconomy

Australia is at an energy crossroads and decisions made today have the potential to redefine the country’s energy future tomorrow. We are all familiar with the term, ‘Digital Natives’, who are key to shaping our economy. However, the bigger question could be, whether Australia can become the world’s first ‘Solar & Storage Natives’?
While solar and stored energy still remains a small component of Australia’s total energy mix, there is a lot of untapped potential opening up a mass of opportunities for households and businesses alike. In 2015 small-scale solar was responsible for 2.4 per cent of the nation’s total electricity, proving Australia is already[1] open and able to adopt sustainable living practices and as the energy climate changes, continue to adapt to a more sustainable lifestyle.
With rising energy costs and solar incentives phasing out, Australia is on the cusp of an energy revolution and homeowners and businesses are open to investing for cheaper and clean renewable energy. But to understand how Australia can become the world’s first solar natives it’s important to understand the sustainability journey the country has taken.
Australia – Eco Warriors
Australia, in comparison to the rest of the world, is a nation of eco-warriors. Australian consumers are always looking for new ways to save energy and reduce waste outputs, whether it’s through alternative energy sources or personal consumption levels.
Local governments and councils provide home-owners and businesses with the resources to reduce waste through bins that separate waste into generals, recyclables, green and food scraps to promote recycling. Throughout the year consumers are offered a free service to pick up unwanted large household items and at least once a month local councils provide kerbside collection, in an effort to reduce waste.
When faced with new sustainability restrictions, Australians rise to the challenge. In times of drought residents and businesses adapt to live within water restrictions to reserve levels, when asked to reduce energy consumption, they change their lifestyles and reduce demand on the grid.
Smarter economical consumption
Australians have flourished under smarter and more economical consumption lifestyles. Households and businesses are being transformed to be more environmentally friendly, whether it is to save on energy costs or to reduce their eco-footprint.
Households now take into consideration how much energy an appliance consumes and are turning to fridges, dishwashers and microwaves with higher energy efficiency ratings, such as frontloaded washing machines which promise to use less power and water, making it kinder to the environment and the pocket. But that’s not all, consumption meters are now being installed in homes to let residents know how when and how much energy they are actually consuming.
Businesses too are making the switch, for example a national department store, David Jones, has implemented an environmental policy that ensures all recyclable materials are separated and disposed off into the correct bins. The change to a more sustainable business was driven through feedback from customers and employees with an aim to transform its relationship with the environment.
Both households and business are moving to ensure new and old properties are energy friendly by installing insulation to keep cool in summer and warm in winter, turning off and unplugging appliances that are not in use and swapping out old light bulbs for energy efficient bulbs that demand less power to generate light.
Australia the country of opportunity
Since the introduction of photovoltaic (PV) systems into Australia, the uptake of  solar panels is now equivalent to the number of Australians – that’s over 23 million! At the end of 2016 and into 2017 incentives for homeowners and businesses to adopt solar power will decrease with the phasing out of premium feed-in-tariffs (FiT) and despite electricity consumption reducing, the price to buy from the grid continues to rise.
Hence, there’s a dire need for Australians to explore options to reduce their energy bills. Thanks to advancements in lithium-ion batteries, energy storage systems (ESS) are now more affordable than ever and it will give users the flexibility and power over their bills due to its ability to store their solar generated electricity for later use. Added benefits will continue to rise as governments acknowledge that ESS is the future of energy and can also provide critical backup power during blackouts.
The future of solar energy  
According to the Climate Council battery storage is expected to grow 50-fold in less than a decade and half of all households are predicted to adopt a solar system with added battery storage, potentially growing the market to $24 billion.
Australia is a nation of sustainable residents with a proven track record of adapting their lifestyles to combat electricity demands and prices, as well as future sustainability. It’s the perfect time for Australians to say goodbye to burning fossil fuels and hello to solar & lithium storage. With the phasing out of FiT’s, introduction of time of use electricity billing, the ideal climate and the reducing cost of lithium batteries, investing in a solar & storage system (ESS) has never been more logical, it’s a clean, renewable and smart asset investment and a very economical way to consume energy.  
Australia is well on its way to become the world’s first solar & storage nation. Solar battery systems give homeowners and business the freedom to choose how they consume energy. Many parts of Australia that have no access to the grid and rely on expensive imported fuels, they will now be able to generate their own power, saving cost and decreasing emissions. Solar battery systems offer something for every Australian household and business. So it’s time to start saving money and in the process reduce our impact upon the planet.

Jamie Allen, Business Manager, Australia and Pacific, LG Chem

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