Paid to Power Up

Free electricity in South Australia. It's precisely what's wrong with our electricity system.

Paid to Power Up

A new report released today showed that for the first time ever, average electricity prices between 10 am and 3.30 pm were negative $12 per MWh.

That meant that generators had to actually pay suppliers to take their electricity!

It was a caused by a combination of a mild summer (resulting in less electricity demand) and the explosion in government subsidised solar panels on so many household and business rooftops.

Now this sounds wonderful. Who doesn't want free electricity? After all, your power needs are satisfied and then you might even reduce your costs further by selling into the grid.

By way of indication, we have solar panels and my most recent electricity bill was $8.65 and that included a $70 supply charge!

However, the real problem comes when people still need the power and their solar panels aren't working. That's when we need generators to provide that baseload electricity to heat and cool our homes, operate our internet and keep the lights on.

If the generators are losing money during the day, it's harder for them to cover their costs by only selling power in the night hours. That means night prices might increase or base load stations may even close as they become unviable.

We've seen that with some coal plants as they cannot be switched on and off like a gas plant can.

In essence, the base load power generators have had their business smashed through the subsidies attached to home and business solar. As a result our electricity supply is much less reliable than it used to be.

Another consideration is the expected lifespan of solar panels. Most need replacement after 25 years and that would see the early adopters looking to dispose of their panels some time soon.

As mentioned previously on this website, these panels are filled with metals and toxic chemicals which need to be disposed on. Typically they have been buried in third-world countries, creating a pollution problem.

That's not a sustainable solution. We've already got an electricity problem so it remains to be seen how Australia manages the solar waste problem coming our way.

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