Western Australia Awards Solar Payments to Commercial Businesses
We’ve all heard about specific incentives linked to solar diminishing in Western Australia. One example is the feed-in tariff, which has been slashed to only three cents before 3 PM. Although there now seems to be a downward trend with the existing incentives, it is not enough reason for homeowners and businesses to avoid installing solar.
In fact, WA has seen a continuous spike in the number of solar-powered homes and, most especially, businesses over the past few years. The state-owned electric distribution network, Western Power, has offered to pay customers to use electricity. And it is why you should have solar installed on your roof if you run a commercial establishment.
What It’s All About
Currently, Western Australia is generating so much power, but it is not from the electric grids themselves. Rather, this power comes from the sun. Many residential and commercial properties are now powered by solar. Even though they may not use solar throughout the day, these buildings consume little energy from the grid.
Business owners may have seen the benefits of solar for their homes. That’s why they are taking those gains to their firm. Commercial operations are quite demanding. Manufacturing products, using machines and electronics, and even distribution require electricity.
WA has costly electricity, so it makes sense that many Western Australians are turning to renewable sources. Plus, the state enjoys so much sun all year round. That energy should not be put to waste. We’ve written a blog about how solar could be perfect for your business, which you can read here.
Almost one in three households now have solar installed on their roofs. Because Perth has the extra power to use on sunny days, especially during the weekends, many people no longer use electricity from the grid. Plus, even though the feed-in tariffs have been reduced, other energy buyback schemes incentivise individuals and groups to go solar. Unfortunately, it is causing major headaches for the grid itself.
Businesses to Get Paid for Electric Consumption
Electricity systems should not be abused; however, they should constantly be utilised, too & at least according to the executive manager of Western Power, Peter Kerr. In Perth, what’s happening now is that there is less demand than ever before while the power generation increases. In the end, it all goes to waste, which gets the whole system out of sync.
To remedy the situation, Western Power’s solution is through is 100 Megawatt Industry Challenge. Also known as the flexibility services pilot, the scheme involves paying businesses so that they will continue using more electricity. At the same time, solar farms should turn themselves off. It is a temporary adjustment and should only be performed during the weekends from 10 AM to 2 PM. It does sound odd and perhaps terrible on the business side of things for the network, but it has to be done to keep the grid stable.
When solar power generators that supply energy to commercial properties switch off their panels, it results in a reduction of 65 megawatts. Businesses will then be paid for consuming around 48 megawatts of electricity. Western Power urges companies to modify their refrigeration or operating times. Instead of abandoning their offices on the weekends, they can run some appliances and perform tasks that require electricity to maintain the stability of the grid.
In this situation, the grid will be the one paying people whenever they increase their electricity consumption. Currently, solar panel owners receive three to 10 cents per kilowatt-hour that they return to the grid. We have mentioned above that three cents apply before 3 PM. That is because the solar output is the highest at that time and the lowest after 3 PM.
On the other hand, businesses are charged 30 cents, which is the standard cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour. Because most of these businesses no longer want to use electricity from the grid, they get free power from the sun. So, the plan that Western Power has come up with is to pay businesses eight cents per kilowatt-hour whenever commercial entities consume electricity.
Western Power confirmed that the manner of how electricity will be used might not be an issue. It is at the discretion of the companies involved. Therefore, it may be possible for some businesses to get paid even if their offices are empty and they just left the lights and other electric appliances running. The reason behind this declaration is that some businesses get to offer flexibility services when they shift load or by changing their cooling and heating cycles.
The Incessant Rise of Solar Power
It seems that solar power cannot be stopped, not only in WA but the rest of the country. Just last October 2020, South Australia ran solely on solar power for about an hour from noon. It is a milestone and the first-ever state or country ever to achieve such a feat.
To benefit from the Western Power scheme, businesses and energy users and generators should sign up for an increase in energy usage. That is when they will receive the payment or subsidy.
Due to the continuous increase of solar installations in the country, many organisations and even the government want to control solar usage. Some measures have been adopted to manage the issue, including feed-in tariffs for people whose panels face west and not north. In WA, the best direction for solar panels is north or specifically, north-north-east.