As with all things subsidized by governments, I have no doubt prices were artificially inflated but the average Joe off the street took on the pain of climate change and embraced solar generated power. They saw it as a way to keep their electricity bills in check, and do their bit for the environment as well. The fact that as much if not more CO2 is produced in the production of the solar panels than they will ever save in electricity generation their lifetime is something that not many people realize. And so, they go about their business of installing solar panels on their roof. Might I add, that this is at considerable cost to themselves, many even taking out loans. However, the contracts that governments entered into meant that over time you would recoup your costs, have cheaper electricity bills, help the environment, and even save the government having to build new power stations to keep up with demand.
So why now, are those that have solar panels on their roof, the bad guys? It makes perfect sense in sunny Australia that we should have as many as possible. However, all these solar panels highlighted a serious flaw in the nation's electricity network. Successive governments ripped the profits out of the electricity generating industry and put it into consolidated revenue so they could afford their extravagant, wasteful ways.The end result being the electricity distribution network was seriously run down, and not designed to have all of these solar panels feeding electricity into the grid. Firstly, the powers that be decided to limit the number of solar producers to so many per street. Then, they changed that policy to limit the size of the unit you were allowed to install, with no restriction on who could install them. Now we have street upon street of solar panels. Why shouldn't we? It is a free country with limitless sunshine. But because of the failure of successive governments to do anything with our infrastructure this oversupply of generating power is having serious repercussions for the electricity grid.
When big business and governments do their forward planning and expenditure budgets they project their future revenue base. This future revenue base has taken a serious hit. Why? Because the average Aussie took all this environmental stuff on board and embraced energy efficiency and renewable energy. We not only generate power and pump it back into the grid, we also do not use as much. This has left the distribution companies with huge shortfalls in their projections!!! Hence, they then come up with all sorts of fancy accounting procedures of fixed charges for nothing and begin a smear campaign to deflect criticism away from themselves.
Australia in recent years has become embroiled in a tug of war between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'. This conflict is the perfect platform for the smear campaign - after all only the rich can afford solar panels, right?? Wrong! The average solar panel owner is simply that - average. We were told we should do this. Often at great expense to ourselves. Nobody gave them to us! We paid for them! But now we are the rich and we are ripping off the poor because we are being paid under a legal and binding (until the government changes it) contract for the electricity we generate. We are told we are selfish because we do not contribute to the poles and wires. I have paid my electricity bill for the last however many years and had solar panels for 2. But no, that does not count!! I will give them count. Get rid of some of the bureaucrats earning more than $500,000/annum and then we will see real savings.
Electricity prices in Australia are fast becoming the highest in the world. With our plentiful supply of (dare I say it) coal, countless days of sunshine and another taboo subject, uranium, our power generating capacity is assured almost until the end of time. So, why should we have to pay this ridiculous amount of money for this essential item for everyday living. Sheer incompetence, and empire building is why!! It is time for all politicians and bureaucrats to be held accountable. It simply is not good enough when they make these huge messes and sail off into the sunset without even so much as a backward glance.
So stop bashing the solar panel owners who were trying to do the right thing. I am tired of, and resent, being made out to be this rich, non-caring person who is simply ripping off those less fortunate than myself. We are just the average Jo who is trying to make ends meet the same as everyone else. Solar power makes sense, especially in industry where they consume any power they generate. However, they do not have a mortgage on solar power cos it also makes sense for everyone. We just have to get those in power (pardon the pun) to stop building ivory towers and begin looking to the future with our infrastructure and make sure it is up to the task required of it.