We have listed and answered the 5 most popular questions we were asked at Hort Connections 2017
Hort Connections 2017 has proved to be a very successful event, with more visitors and exhibitors than ever before. Over 50 people visited our booth, demonstrating a growing interest for lower cost solar power. The hottest discussion topics included energy cost savings, government incentives, battery storage and other innovative technologies in the solar industry.
1. How can I offset my increasing power costs?
With the rising electricity charges and the energy costs of your pumping and cool rooms, it is likely your power bills have doubled, which would heavily reflect on your bottom line. More and more growers are planning for the future, with the reduction of their electricity bills being high on the agenda. Solar energy has never been cheaper. Start thinking of your bare roof like an unsown field. Every month you go without solar is a month without savings.
2. I wish to reduce my daily consumption, including at night through battery storage.
Batteries are the next big thing and they are improving all the time. Right now, battery prices are reducing and their life span is increasing. Therefore, the ROI of a battery system may be more attractive in a year or two. However, you might want to have a look at some now for your home.
3. What kind of government rebates are available?
The Federal Government supports the solar industry via its Renewable Energy Target (RET). When you install a solar system, you will accrue either Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) for systems under 100 kW or Large-Scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) for systems above 100 kW. These are like shares and will have a value to you which you can trade. Most people trade (or assign) STCs back to the solar provider for an upfront discount on their system, whereas LGCs are created every time your solar system produces 1 MWh of electricity. LGCs are accrued and can be traded each year, creating a new revenue stream for your business. This can be a complex area and Solargain is well positioned to help you through it.
4. How do feed-in tariffs work?
Your energy retailer may pay you a Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for any unused energy from your solar system. Some (but not all) State Governments mandate a minimum FiT. For example, the Victorian government has recently increased the minimum FiT – more than doubling the FiT to 11.3 cents per kWh from 1 July (for systems less than 100 kW). Even though FiTs may be increasing, they are not available on all systems. Therefore, Solargain will always ensure we size your solar system to maximise coverage of your energy usage while still minimising exported (or wasted) power. Think of an FiT as a bonus, not the main goal.
5. What’s new in panel technology and efficiency?
The solar industry continues to invest heavily in R&D, and it seems, every week, there is a new announcement about some exciting breakthrough like solar paint, solar film, solar tiles etc. The reality is somewhat more conservative. Panels have improved in efficiency and output over the years, but the pace is incremental, not game-changing. Some of these ideas never become commercially viable or may take many years to appear in the market. Inverter monitoring, efficiency and reliability have continued to improve incrementally too. Micro-inverters and optimizers are also more prevalent and are the best option in certain circumstances. Solargain will help you choose the best option for your situation. This means you can go ahead with your solar investment sooner and, most importantly, start saving faster.
Solargain Commercial has been supporting agribusinesses for years, providing them with solar power solutions to help them cut costs and grow profits. Our customers include the Loose Leaf Lettuce Company, Trandos Hyrdroponic Growers, Trandos Farms, Ivankovich Farms and Castro Farms.
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For an obligation-free site assessment and feasibility study, fill out the form below or contact a consultant closest to you.
Perth and Adelaide: Keith Lynch 0458 600 566 or Chris Harvey 0409 085 382
Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane: Jusuf Tekesic 0478 020 851 or Brad McPherson 0458 633 006