|Source: Energy Matters|
For a while now, households have been trying to reduce their electricity bills by installing rooftop solar. Now it's the turn of big businesses.
South Australian water and sewerage utility SA Water is hoping to cut its electricity bill from an eye-watering total of $55 million in 2016/17 to a net total of $0 in 2020, after announcing plans to install up to 6MW of solar PV across a number of its large metropolitan sites.
Having ramped up its renewables rollout with a tender for a solar and battery storage system in July of last year, SA Water last month revealed plans to invest another $10 million on an initial 6MW of both rooftop and ground-mounted PV across its operations, with the first installations expected to begin in the first half of this year.
In the regional Victorian city of Portland, Wannon Water is building an 800kW wind turbine that it will use to power its water and sewerage treatment plant.
Also in regional Victoria, North East Water is in the process of installing 43kW of solar panels and 40kW of battery storage at its Yakandandah facility.
In Queensland, the City of Gold Coast is proposing to install a series of floating solar PV arrays on its network of wastewater ponds – both to help power the city’s wastewater treatment plants and to cut evaporation from the ponds.
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These large businesses can all do this because they own the property they operate from. But it's a lot harder if you are a large business which rents the property, because the solar panels would belong to your landlord. And if the landlord sells the output of his rooftop panels to you he becomes an "electricity retailer" with all kinds of legal constraints and obligations. Installation of mid-sized PV would grow far more rapidly if this legal constraint were removed. This is a similar problem to what's faced by community solar in the US, and prevents solar installations on blocks of flats.
Critics keep on saying that renewables are more expensive than coal. And they are wrong--using renewables will cut our energy costs.
See also: Aussies turn to renewables to cut business power bills