Australia Considers a New Household Solar Energy “Export” Tax

Busy vintage accountant with adding machine surrounded by cash register tape.

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Who could have seen this coming? Comfortable middle class householders making money selling rooftop solar back to the grid, cash strapped governments greedy for new sources of revenue…

Rooftop solar panel owners could be getting charged fees to sell energy back to the grid

By Nick Harmsen
Posted Thursday 16 July 2020 at 8:35pm

Householders with rooftop solar panels and batteries have reacted with fury to proposals which could see them charged for exporting power to the electricity grid.

Over the past decade, state governments have actively incentivised households to feed their solar into the grid, by offering generous feed-in tariff schemes. Most have now closed to new entrants.

But now, welfare groups and transmission company SA Power Networks (SAPN) have asked the Australian Energy Markets Commission to change market rules to allow charging of household exporters.

They argue that under the current system, households without solar could be unfairly burdened with the cost of augmenting power networks to cope with the increase of new panels, which is already placing a strain on the network in states with heavy solar penetration like South Australia.

Solar owners furious

The idea has drawn a furious response from many solar panel owners, including Adelaide man Michael Preus.

“People will just disconnect them, and tell them to get stuffed, that’s what I would do,” he said.

Mr Preus said he had installed his household solar PV system to save money and help the environment, but was now questioning his investment.

“We’ll never, ever in our lifetime recoup our investment, the return is just not there.”

Read more:

This move echoes the Spanish Government move to impose a “sun tax” in 2015, though they later cancelled the tax in 2018. Spain now encourages householders to invest in energy storage, “self consumption”, to avoid flooding the grid with power nobody wants, because solar power peaks at the wrong time of the day.

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July 23, 2020 10:09 pm

Oh dear. How sad. Too bad. Never mind

Reply to  Alex
July 24, 2020 8:01 am

Those who have been heavily subsidized are upset because now they are going to be taxed.
I’m trying to decide which is greater, the hypocrisy, or the irony.

Reply to  MarkW
July 24, 2020 9:02 am

although its apples to oranges, I’ll go with the hypocrisy.

J Mac
July 23, 2020 10:19 pm

Ahhhh, virtue signaling proponents of solar ‘renewables’ become providers of renewable taxes for socialist bureaucrats! Who’da thunk it?

Reply to  J Mac
July 24, 2020 3:50 am

So it is ok to sell back to the grid that was set up with huge capital to provide stable and cheap energy . And now u using the same network free of charge and want to be paid?
No one wants your unreliable, expensive and subsidised (by me) Mickey Mouse energy. Buhoo. Cry me a river.

Reply to  Firemann
July 24, 2020 1:04 pm

“We’ll never, ever in our lifetime recoup our investment, the return is just not there.”

… because the price of installing solar is artificially inflated by the subsidies and rediculous feed-in rates paid.

What many do not understand is that feed-in rates are constructed to provide a guaranteed income. An income can be the legal basis for a bank loan. The banks then get to create “wealth” out of thin air and get richer for absolutely nothing other than the fact of being a bank which authorises them to play the ponzi scheme of credit.

The improbably favorable terms and insane feed-in tariffs for PV solar are NOTHING to do with ecology and everything to do with the economy: bailing out the banks.

July 23, 2020 10:29 pm

So now to tackle electric cars that don’t pay for roads and infrastructure costs.

Reply to  Ron
July 24, 2020 6:24 am

re: “tackle electric cars that don’t pay for roads and infrastructure costs.”

Look at the odometer each year; pay some predetermined fee per mile figure … done.

PS I remind that there are laws on the books already prohibiting the ‘messing around with’ odometers …

Reply to  _Jim
July 24, 2020 1:35 pm

Which is exactly how NZ taxes road going diesel vehicles. You required to purchase a RUC or road user charge in KMs.

This exempts industries whose vehicles never hit the public road like farmers, or quarry vehicles, diesel powered industrial equipment etc.

Reply to  Alloytoo
July 24, 2020 2:40 pm

Interesting … thank you.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Alloytoo
July 25, 2020 3:56 am

Diesel public road users pay a RUC on the fuel, at the pump, they buy AS WELL AS a RUC on their road usage every year at rego renewal. Petrol users pay a RUC on the fuel at the pump as well as their rego fees. And then there is GST. A tax on a tax on a tax…

Shanghai Dan
Reply to  _Jim
July 25, 2020 9:21 am

As long as it’s scaled by weight, too! Road damage goes as the 4th power of weight, and I would NOT want to pay the same rate for my 500 pound motorcycle as a 4500 pound Tesla (which does about 60,000 times the road damage as I do).

July 23, 2020 10:42 pm

This is what is coming for the entire renewable energy industry…mark my words. It happened to me after 26 years of generating small hydro, and then just no more contract renewal and you are stuck with stranded assets in a creek bed. At least with solar panels or windmill, you could cart it all off to another jurisdiction until they pull the plug on you. In my case it was small hydro dams in a creek, and then sorry, we really don’t want your power anyway. But to rub it in, they keep sending you the property tax and water licence bills. I started out at 3 cents a kW/hr in 1994. Back then, I thought I was helping to save the world since everyone was saying this was we need to do. And they still are. The renewable energy industry is going to end very badly, and probably fairly soon. I am not against private power production obviously, but it should be market based which would keep then majority of the really bad projects off the grid. No subsidies…I was never subsidized.

The renewable energy industry will one day, soon enough, just collapse over night. Once the subsidies come off for wind and solar, it is just toxic waste. Literally. The contracts will be ripped up. And so they should. I would be short renewable energy stocks long term, because the Gov’ts are going to soon figure they can’t afford the subsidy now, and will claim force majeure to make it fait accompli. The BC Gov’t just did so, using the COVID-19 as the excuse for the force majeure, threatening not paying the IPP’s (Independent Power Producers), because demand fell by 10% due to mills and mines closing the last 4 months.

It was sort of a stupid mandate of a previous Liberal Gov’t to reward their rich donors with lucrative power contracts for up to 40 years, with freshet based power, so a bunch of larger 50-100 Mw run of river projects got built. But exactly at the same time of year that BC Hydro had significant freshet to fill the reservoirs, was when most of these projects also had full throttle. Actually, not much different than peak solar at noon. But they built so much, so quick, that the Crown monopoly BC Hydro would be having to spill their water at freshet. And now the NDP socialists hate anything private so now that industry is toast if they are reelected.

It should have been all kept small scale like I was, which was just 110 kW in my case. A small family business, or more net metering. I was one of the early independent energy producers from the early days of the PURPA era (Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act) So I have been there and done that. Biggest mistake I ever made, although I got ‘free’ electricity and still do, but now just heating air ands water to dump the excess. Don’t believe anything these hucksters tell you about anything.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Earthling2
July 24, 2020 12:41 am

Remember when we had Internet Cafes? Well in light of you having excess electricity available, why not start your own TESLA recharging Cafe? You could even have a restaurant available to keep the TESLA customers busy, while their cars are being recharged.
The virtue signalling meter would be off the grid, sorry I mean off the scale, with such an enterprise. The woke folk could return to their suburban communities and report they filled up with Green energy from the Creek Cafe.
Us Earthlings should stick together while we have the will and resolve to do so. The Wokes are coming and they don’t mind how many Earthlings are destroyed, in their endless pursuit of anarchy. You need to capitalise and profit while you can, because the Woke want to outlaw such ancient ideas.

Reply to  Rod Evans
July 24, 2020 1:13 am

Or mythical hydrogen for the Hydrogen Highway. Probably easier to grow Marijuana, and now it is legal. Or even green-housing of some sort or process some of my own timber. I will figure something out. But it is happening that the first and now later renewable energy projects are going to find themselves cancelled. This is how this giant global renewable scam ends, as every contract comes up for renewal. That sector is screwed big time in most jurisdictions. Or the new price will be so cheap, you effectively are no longer profitable, and that will be everywhere. The subsidies are the scam to lure in the gullible investor, while the promoters make off like bandits and get out early after they set the whole operation up and they sell it to some hedge fund that will go broke some day. It’s a pump and dump scheme. With solar/wind, the equipment doesn’t even last profitably for the usual 20 year contract which should be the first clue.

Reply to  Earthling2
July 24, 2020 7:43 am

Wasn’t that Warren Buffet’s take on the wind & solar industry – forget their profit forecasts, just invest for the guaranteed subsidies income.

Reply to  Earthling2
July 24, 2020 4:55 am

Use your cheap electricity to mine Bitcoin 🤓

Monna Manhas
Reply to  Earthling2
July 24, 2020 12:58 pm

They may be using covid as an excuse now, but BC Hydro started cutting back on IPPs in 2013.

Reply to  Monna Manhas
August 1, 2020 8:04 am

Yes Monna, you are sort of correct, in that the majority of the larger contracts had been let by 2013, with changes to the Standing Offer Program making the program a standard rate (9.99 cents/kWh) and contract (10 Mw and under) with that program being given priority after 2013 to 2016 and the Net Metering program (increased from 50 kW to 100 kW) happening a few years after 2013. But it takes several years to get a 50 Mw project built, so there was many projects in the pipeline still getting built almost until the election in 2017 that saw the NDP socialists acquire a minority Gov’t with the assistance of the BC Greens. Now the BC Greens won’t say a word…I know because I tried talking to Dr. Andrew Weaver (former leader of the BC Greens) and they refused to say anything about renewables, even though that is at the core of their platform federally. The NDP will be probably be calling a snap election this fall, hoping to get a majority and then we are royally screwed in BC if they win. They have kept a minority Gov’t together for 3 years now, so it is getting near to an election in any event. Unfortunately, the BC Liberals don’t have a leader with a fire in his belly, so will be a crapshoot how this turns out. We are all screwed anyway with Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister. We are having some extremely poor governance in BC and Canada.

Patrick MJD
July 23, 2020 10:51 pm

“They argue that under the current system, households without solar could be unfairly burdened with the cost of augmenting power networks to cope with the increase of new panels…”

Sorry, there is no could be about it. Those who don’t have rooftop solar installed, can’t afford it or rent already subsidise those who did and can. I am all for it! Teach those snooty types a lesson in karma.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 24, 2020 12:09 am

Totally with you Patrick. And those of us who chose not to have solar will cheer!!! About time they contributed back to the grid they have helped destroy and whose poer we have subsidised though our increased bills. Plenty of people here are saying – like our idiot Chief Minister in the ACT (where he claims we are powered by 100% renewables even though we draw our power from the NSW grid which still has a solid coal foundation) – that solar power is now cheaper. If that is so, immediately end the subsidies. Cant have it both ways.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 24, 2020 5:32 am

yup been the cause of the HUGE price hikes
oh and the stupid mandated “smartmeters” for thick people.
early days a very very well of local instaled solar at huge discounts for early adopter all over his farm sheds and house etc
he was being paid 60c a kwh!
standard dayrate then was around 22c a kwh
so we poor power users were already subsidising his income by a huge amount even hen and he had a 10yr contract.
now hey offer 6 to 9c a kwh to most of the gullibles.
and the grid? well that WAS state owned and well paid for bytaxes then flogged to private enterprise hefty “incentives and cash flows” and huge rises on service charges then hit us hard
he entire thing rom start to now is an utter cashcow for the rich and OS entities and the aussie consumers screwed every which way
qld even wanted to charge supply fees for those who were Totally OFF grid stand alone..because theyd lose revenue so they wanted the fees paid for NO SERVICE or Supply anyway.

Patrick MJD
July 23, 2020 10:54 pm

““People will just disconnect them, and tell them to get stuffed, that’s what I would do,” he said.”

If they are attached to the grid it is not only very dangerous to try to disconnect from the grid, especially when you have a 6kw battery at one end, it is also highly illegal in Australia to tamper with the grid connection.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 23, 2020 11:28 pm

The thing I love most about that quote is the fact that just above in the article it is claimed that Adelaide Man got his system to help the environment.

Well what’s a iddy biddy bit of extra money if you are helping the environment? You DO want to help the environment, right?

Well clearly not. Solar is all about saving money it seems. Gives more support to the claim that everyone one is a Green… right up till someone has to start paying for things. After that saving the planet is the government’s fault.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 24, 2020 6:34 am

re: “If they are attached to the grid it is not only very dangerous to try to disconnect from the grid,”

Oh brother; operating out of your specialty? I THINK this would come in the form of a BREAKER THROW, after which a call to one’s electrician to remove the apparatus. Here in our district a CUTOFF SWITCH (or breaker) MUST be located on the exterior of a structure for a ‘grid-tied’ solar system, the purpose being for FIRE DEPARTMENT and power company access to cut off the system in case of ‘problems’.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  _Jim
July 24, 2020 8:32 pm

“_Jim July 24, 2020 at 6:34 am”

Here in Australia, a domestic breaker would not disconnect from the grid. It would simply stop feeding the grid. The panels would still work in the day and the battery would still be charged. The grid operators would still change you a connection fee even if you are not feeding power back to the grid and of course now the proposal for being taxed for it too. The grid operators would also issue fault notices and charges for faulty appliances that feed back power (I know this as I worked for grid operator AusGrid). The comments in the article talk of disconnecting rooftop solar/batteries from the grid not simply throwing a breaker. So, my comment is valid. Trained, qualified and certified people do this sort of work not your average Joe to have a solar installation completely removed from the property and the grid. That will be the only way owners would not be charged.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 24, 2020 1:26 pm

” it is also highly illegal in Australia to tamper with the grid connection.”

What about covering the panels with heavy duty tarp?
Where there’s a will there’s a way.

Reply to  Philip Mulholland
July 24, 2020 2:34 pm

Or do it at night…lol. maybe the Moonshine will give you just a little zap, but if you take a real swig, you will fall off the roof. I guess the next argument will be it’s too dark to see.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
July 25, 2020 3:48 am

“Philip Mulholland July 24, 2020 at 1:26 pm”

That’s not disconnecting from the grid is it?

Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 25, 2020 4:05 am

Oh dear.
Did you miss the sarcasm?
Here you are then /sarc

Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 25, 2020 9:18 am

And all I would say would have been averted had the purchasers/program applicants had not had “stars in their eyes” about profits/benefits, and had scanned the Sales Agreements/Government Contract with a “What could go wrong here?” state of mind.

In my experience if a marketer, or Government Agent will not put promises, and protections in the written agreement, I assume they are outright lying, or have something to hide. Who in a calm right mind would assume that there is anything a Government would never look to tax ? Or, that a business would not “puff” to make a sale ?

Lee L
July 23, 2020 11:03 pm

“People will just disconnect them, and tell them to get stuffed, that’s what I would do,” he said.

Yea….which might work if the power were actually needed.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Lee L
July 24, 2020 3:02 am

It might also add to the toll of Australian fires. That 6kW has to go somewhere.

Reply to  It doesn't add up...
July 24, 2020 10:47 am

Solar panel output doesn’t have to “go somewhere”. A solar cell that is not connected to anything merely has all of the light it absorbs becoming heat.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 24, 2020 11:01 am

And what happens with a build up of heat? These things are designed to absorb, not reflect.

A personal friend lost her house to a fire caused by a new solar installation.

Reply to  It doesn't add up...
July 24, 2020 1:11 pm

Your friend probably lost her house to a solar system improperly installed, and/or defective products, probably Made in China. A solar panel not connected to anything will not generate any open circuit voltage, so there is no current to arc and start a fire. While the dark/black solar panel might get fairly hot in the Sun all day not connected to anything, it would be no where near hot enough to start a fire. It will just get hot and radiate that same heat back to the atmosphere as a high albedo surface, causing, wait for it, global warming.

They get hot anyway even if connected to the grid or a battery which is why some enterprising entrepreneur came up with a solar panel that heats water to cool the panel which actually makes it a bit more efficient. Another research group did some retrofit on solar panels with purifying brackish water to fully distilled drinking water by allowing small amounts of water per panel to be distilled to water vapor and condensed back to pure water.

A larger breakthrough will be when Thermocouples become efficient and cheap enough to add additional efficiency to a solar panel, harvesting the waste heat. Perhaps in conjunction with heating some water, using the cold water first to be the cold side of the thermocouple. The electrical energy generated by a thermocouple is converted from the heat which must be supplied to the hot side to maintain the electric potential. A continuous transfer of heat is necessary because the current flowing through the thermocouple tends to cause the hot side to cool down and the cold side to heat up known as the Peltier effect. Thermocouples can be connected in series to form a Thermopile, where all the hot junctions are exposed to a higher temperature and all the cold junctions to a lower temperature. The output is the sum of the voltages across the individual junctions, giving larger voltage and power output. When this tech is inexpensive, it could add a few points to the overall efficiency of a solar panel since there is a lot of waste heat even when they are generating electricity in the hot sunlight.

July 23, 2020 11:10 pm

I have a very good junk box which includes a couple of kw inverters I bought to power the furnace in case of a power failure. I could kludge together a system to power part of my house for part of the day just for the price of the solar panels.

Panels are going for about $210/kw(peak). link So, for ease of arithmetic, 500 peak watts for a hundred bucks. If I could get a bit more than fifty cents per day worth of electricity per day (because of time-of-use billing), that’s nearly two hundred bucks per year.

So, if I only had to pay for the panels, I could build a small system that would pay for itself in less than a year. On the other hand, it would cut my electricity use by less than twenty percent.

How else could I save a bit of money? I could make my own wine and save about ten bucks per week or around five hundred bucks per year. As projects go, that sounds like a much better use of my time.

There is a proper use for photovoltaic panels. It isn’t for replacing natural gas powered utility scale generators.

Reply to  commieBob
July 24, 2020 12:29 am

The only thing for solar that makes sense is off grid. With a small gas generator nearly a buck a kW/h all in, then solar doesn’t look that bad. I have some off grid properties and a camper and a RV that all have a fair amount of portable solar panels because I am off grid a lot as well. In the summer, it isn’t bad, but in the winter it is nearly useless on a cloudy day for at least 4 months. But it’s better than nothing. I suppose the cost of the solar panels would be higher if they weren’t being mass produced for grid scale solar so there is that.

If too many people do net metering at noon with solar, it unbalances the grid and their operations. The price the roof top solar folk think they should get paid doesn’t reflect the entire cost of the Utility to deliver the same for 4-5 hours around noon every day. In BC, the Net Metering program was just rolled back last month to only pay Mid C Rates, which basically is the spot market rate for BC/WA/Or grid intertie between USA/Canada. It is currently about 3.5 cents kW/h, which is what the solar net meter program will get in a few years. It is being rolled back everywhere, and other projects will be cancelled by not renewing contracts. Renewable energy is already dying in some parts of the world.

But even in a grid connected house, I would’t mind having a separate dedicated 15 Amp circuit with a half dozen panels and some batteries/pure sine wave inverter to be used as a large dedicated UPS to run the furnace, fridge and the TV/internet/laptop and a few LED’s. At least one could easily survive perhaps with a smallish generator if/when the sun don’t shine and you are stuck with no shore power for a week or two. This is what solar PV should be for. Or remote cell towers.

Reply to  commieBob
July 24, 2020 7:00 am

re: “Solar panels with efficient battery storage are new technologies. Over time, the technology should improve significantly, ”

Why even go that route to start with? Ever seen the demand curve over a 24 hr period in your state or province?

Here in our district, the peak is in the afternoon, in summer, owing to ‘peak cooling’ demands (air conditioning). Solar is perfect for ‘grid tie’ in this case, ESPECIALLY if you buy wholesale electricity off the grid (RATHER than through a so-called “retailer” who averages out your cost WITH profit being their reward). BTW, wholesale (spot market) grid price of electricity is highest when demand is highest, and cheap the rest of the time … so WHY are you going with batteries again?

Battery tie-in is just plain foolish in most cases, unless you have NO access to ‘bulk’ grid electricity at all.

Reply to  _Jim
July 24, 2020 8:07 am

The whole point of having a smallish dedicated battery/solar system would be for surviving longer term power outages so you can run your furnace and fridge along with all the electronic low load gadgets like TV and internet in an extended power outage. I wired my house with one dedicated circuit separate from the grid, and have a 2000 watt pure sine inverter with a half dozen solar panels and 8 deep cycle batteries in my welding truck to make this work, even though I also have the grid and other small hydro production. I don’t want that to be grid connected, since the whole point is that your house can work at a minimum in an extended power outage, as commieBob was saying for his furnace. Plus it pays for itself over several years as that circuit is independent of the grid providing much better quality electricity you don’t have too buy, by providing one 15 Amp circuit to run a few essentials for modern day convenience. Plus some protection of the usual garbage grid electricity and power spikes etc. Most people don’t realize how ‘dirty’ grid electricity is, especially if you live near factories, sawmills etc, with large inductive loads starting up big induction motors.

Just pure convenience to ensure I can weather any power outage, since I also have 3 miles of my own 25 KV power line to fix myself when something goes wrong. But even at my condo in town, I have 2 larger AGM batteries for my UPS system (no solar) with a 1000 watt sine wave inverter to run the electronics, and keep the fridge/freezer from thawing out if worst came to worst for a few day power outage, although would still have to charge those batteries after a 3-4 hour power outage. Which I can do by throwing my main breaker from the grid, and run another small 600 watt sine wave inverter in my Jeep back to my condo unit through my block heater circuit, which gives access to another 600 watts in the condo to utilize or charge that battery if an extended power outage. Getting inefficient now, but the 75 amp alternator in my diesel Jeep puts out almost 1000 watts at 14 VDC and with 2 starting batteries, so I I will never be out of basic electricity wherever I am. None of this is probably legal, so don’t try this at home.

Reply to  _Jim
July 24, 2020 8:14 am

re: “Solar panels with efficient battery storage are new technologies. Over time, the technology should improve significantly, ”

That’s not true. Both solar power and batteries are old technologies.
I see no evidence to assume anything more than marginal improvements over time.

Reply to  MarkW
July 24, 2020 10:51 am

Lithium ion batteries are not a very old technology. Then there’s sodium ion which is new. Currently there is less demand for sodium ion than for lithium ion and I have yet to hear of sodium ion batteries on the market, probably because the greater size and weight of sodium ions in comparision to lithium ones would make batteries bigger and heavier. But sodium is a lot cheaper and more widely available than lithium, which would help for mass energy storage.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 25, 2020 8:26 am

Sodium battery technology is as old as lithium battery technology, and at thirty-five years, both are getting long in the tooth. Consider, too, the great emphasis being placed on battery research in the past three decades (spurred by mobil requirements). Any improvements in either will be marginal, not revolutionary.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 26, 2020 8:49 am

Lithium ion battery technology wasn’t as good as it is now even 15 years ago. Sodium ion battery technology has advanced more slowly than lithium ion battery technology has so far, for two reasons I know of. One is a common electrode material doesn’t work as well with sodium ions as with lithium ions because sodium ions are larger. The other is because sodium ion batteries would be larger and heavier than similarly advanced lithium ion batteries of the same capacity, because sodium ions are larger and heavier than lithium ions.

Reply to  _Jim
July 24, 2020 8:16 am

In most places, peak solar is just after noon, while peak cooling is more like 5 to 6 pm.

The Monster
Reply to  MarkW
July 24, 2020 8:50 am

If I were designing an off-grid system, I’d have the PV first top off the batteries, then power a compressor for a “cold bank” (50/50 water and antifreeze) in an insulated, buried container, pumping the heat into a water pre-heater upstream of an on-demand heater. The idea is to get that thing as cold as possible so that it can be tapped to run air-conditioning and refrigerator/freezer equipment with minimal power. I think it’s way more efficient to “bank” the cold than to charge batteries and use the batteries to run the ac/fridge equipment later.

Reply to  MarkW
July 24, 2020 11:01 am

On an average summer day, the temperature in NYC and Philadelphia peaks around 4 PM and the heat index peaks earlier. And, part of the heating of buildings is from sunlight, which peaks when sunlight is greatest. Farther south in the eastern half of the US, temperature on an average summer day peaks about 3-3:30 PM. In Orlando, temperature on an average summer day peaks before the practically daily thunderstorms start at 3 PM, less than 1.5 hours after peak sunlight of about 1:30 PM EDT. (Today’s sunrise at Orlando was 6:43 AM, today’s sunset at Orlando is 8:20 PM.)

Air conditioning can be cranked up at the time of peak sunlight and buildings can be cooled to a degree or two cooler than they need to be, and then allowed to warm back up to their target temperature later in the afternoon.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 24, 2020 12:12 pm

However most people don’t start coming home from work until later. Peak heating during the day is only part of the equation.

Cooling the building to more than is needed is a waste of energy. It makes an already uneconomical system even more so.

Reply to  MarkW
July 24, 2020 2:13 pm

re: “However most people don’t start coming home from work until later. Peak heating during the day is only part of the equation.”

What do you see here (1600 is 4 PM CDT local time):

comment image

The graph is “Current Demand” as displayed by these people:

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 25, 2020 8:46 am

-Jim, I see peak demand at 4pm, but there is a longer decay time afterwards, than the rise time was. It’s difficult to see at the graph’s scale, but it’s there. Compare the demand four hours before to four hours afterwards, and it’s obvious. More energy is required after peak demand than before. While that does not affect peak requirements, it most certainly affects how much output you need from solar cells if you plan to supplement them with battery.

Now that I am home most of the time, it is clear that the ACs are running more after peak than before. Home insulation introduces a lag time on how outdoor temps affect indoor temps.

And Klipstein must not be married if he thinks people will find it acceptable to make a house or office colder than desired to balance out energy needs.

Reply to  jtom
July 25, 2020 8:53 am

BEAR in mind those times are CDT not CST; 4 PM CDT becomes 3 PM (solar time).

Stupid DST …

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 25, 2020 9:10 am

About making an office cooler than target temperature by a couple degrees: That wouldn’t make things uncomfortable, because the target temperature is the maximum that is comfortable and the width of the comfort range is not zero. If there’s an issue with people having different comfort ranges, it’s usually an issue with expectations of what people are supposed to wear. In most offices it is expected for men to be more heavily clothed than women, and a liberalization of dress codes for men can get people’s comfort ranges overlapping better and accomplish a decrease of demand for air conditioning.

Another thing: Pumping extra heat out of a building before the outdoor temperature peaks does not waste as much energy (from cooling indoor temperature below target) as much as one expects from heat conduction through walls and amount of overcooling alone. The work done to pump the heat out is less when that’s done while the outdoor temperature is less.

Reply to  commieBob
July 24, 2020 8:12 am

Hard to tell just from just that description, but are you assuming that you will be getting peak power from the panels for the entire time the sun is up?

July 23, 2020 11:15 pm

“Householders with rooftop solar panels and batteries have reacted with fury to proposals which could see them charged for exporting power to the electricity grid”

Confusion is the norm in a science where things just don’t add up.

Len Werner
Reply to  Chaamjamal
July 24, 2020 8:20 am

An excellent treatment in that link. Those of us who have mapped rocks and interpreted what they tell us are constantly amazed that humans can so easily draw catastrophe-minded conclusions simply from a lack of understanding their own insignificance.

Craig from Oz
July 23, 2020 11:33 pm

Personally as a different Adelaide Man I welcome the change.

(so… ABC… where is your balance? Did you interview any non-solar owners in your balanced tax payer funded interview?)

I however would also like to see a ‘Disposal Levy’ charged against all solar owners. Those things can’t just be tossed in the yellow recycling bin for the council to collect. They are more toxic than a Twitter chat thread and sooner or later someone needs to start taking responsibly for the full life cycle of these things and as a non owner I don’t really believe that person should be me.

User pays, and if you didn’t realise there was a life cycle to these things then more fool you.

Reply to  Craig from Oz
July 24, 2020 12:13 am

Spot on Craig. i have refused to have anything to do with rooftop solar. and I will be pretty pi55ed if the government tries to charge me for their disposal. Make it the responsibility of those who put it on their roof. Would stop the rooftop rort cold i reckon.

Greg Locock
July 24, 2020 12:10 am

Actually solar is a pretty good match for peak loads in Australia, which are 3 pm on a hot day. The match is not good in winter, but then there’s much less solar.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Greg Locock
July 24, 2020 2:25 am

Hot, but dull and cloudy does not made a solar happy day! And I have seen east, south and west facing panels on roofs here in Sydney. LMAO!

Irritable Bill
July 24, 2020 12:11 am

What an asshole, he says he bought the panels to save the environment and clearly doesn’t give a stuff for the people who have to pay for his panels, usually the old and infirm or others who cant afford to put panels on the roof for one reason or another but as soon as it looks like he will have to pay himself to save the planet…the whining begins, these people sicken me. I would love for him to whine to me about it, he would get a very severe shock with what happened next.

Reply to  Irritable Bill
July 24, 2020 8:18 am

If the only reason why he put them in was to save the planet, then he should have refused to be paid for it.

Ken Irwin
July 24, 2020 12:16 am

Even if solar made economic sense – which it doesn’t – sooner or later the government would tax it to its next nearest equivalent.

If you fell for the “you’ll never pay for electricity again” scam don’t come crying to me.

If you accepted a government subsidy (my money) to install something you knew was unfeasible – then you are an accomplice to fraud. You stole my money (taxes).

“Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” – No sympathy whatsoever.

July 24, 2020 12:43 am

Given that, in most locations, the production of solar panels produces more CO2 than they save in their lifetime, there is little justification for their use. If they have to be used, the only place would be on the roofs of commercial buildings in warm climates where aircon needs to be powered during the day while the panels are producing power.

I get very angry when I see the green fields of England being covered with a Dementor’s cloak of solar panels.

Rod Evans
July 24, 2020 12:51 am

Mr Preus (so close to being perfect a name) has revealed an uncomfortable truth with this line from the article. I just hope his woke supporters are able to take in the comment and understand exactly what it means.
” Mr Preus said he had installed his household solar PV system to save money and help the environment, but was now questioning his investment.

“We’ll never, ever in our lifetime recoup our investment, the return is just not there.”

That sums up renewable energy projects economic fundamentals, in a single line.
Priceless Mr Preus, absolutely priceless!

July 24, 2020 1:45 am

Solar panels with efficient battery storage are new technologies. Over time, the technology should improve significantly, or at least could improve significantly if the interest is maintained.

An analogy is the digital camera which captures energy from light. The first digital cameras were very, very expensive and very inefficient with a small number of megapixels. Over 2 to 3 decades later they have become amazingly efficient products.

But they wouldn’t have developed if the wealthy and/or professional photographers had not been willing to spend huge amounts of money on those first models of digital cameras.

The ideal scenario in the future, that I imagine is technologically feasible, is a house that is designed with the entire roof covered with solar panels, as part of the structure of the roof.
It would also be sensible to legislate that all roofs should be flat, and/or sloping slightly towards the general direction of the sun, to maximize the absorption of sunlight.

Each house would have a separate room, like a laundry, for battery storage. Current Lithium batteries will be replaced with new and more efficient technology because lithium is a limited resource, like fossil fuels.

Electric cars will become the norm. The initial purchase price will be at least as cheap as current gasoline cars of similar size and performance, but cheaper to maintain. The cars will be easily, and cheaply, and efficiently charged overnight, from the householder’s solar battery storage, so the over all running costs will be significantly less than gasoline cars.

However, please don’t think I am a ‘Climate Change Alarmist’. I’m not.

Ken Irwin
Reply to  Vincent
July 24, 2020 3:01 am

Wind and solar are very close to maxing out their theoretical limits

There are physical limits to renewables as determined by various physicists :-
The Schockley-Queisser Limit states that at maximum 33% of incoming photons can be converted into electrons in silicon photovoltaic – modern PV’s can reach 26%.
The Betz Limit states that a wind turbine blade can capture maximum 60% of kinetic energy in air – modern windmills have reached 45%.
So these renewable technologies are approaching their limits – there is no Moore’s law for continual improvement (in cost speed and computing power that there has been for computers / electronics).

Besides the improvements in electronics were driven by market forces without subsidies.

I don’t wish to foot the tax bill to fund fruitless research and development into technologies that have patently run their course.

But be my guest and invest on your dime not mine.

Reply to  Vincent
July 24, 2020 5:46 am

Id be able to reuse ahell of a lotof them but not as pv power
theyre useful and light enuough enough to repurpose around my property
love to get a few hundred as theyre so UNrecyclable right now and ongoing.

Reply to  Vincent
July 24, 2020 5:49 am

there was a reason the old solar batteries were housed in bunkers AWAY from the home, pref with an earth berm
lithium or whatever if one goes up..they ALL go up and the resulting explosion and toxic output would be rather nasty

Reply to  Vincent
July 24, 2020 7:12 am

Vincent says :
“Solar panels with efficient battery storage are new technologies. Over time, the technology should improve significantly”.
No, not likely. The technology will hit the wall of the law of diminishing returns. In the thirty + years I’ve used rechargeable batteries for various hobby tasks, I’ve found each new tech has been marketed with exorbitant claims of both capacity and longevity. And, a hiding of the environmental costs downstream of re-cycling/disposal of pooched batteries.

Reply to  Vincent
July 24, 2020 8:22 am

“Solar panels with efficient battery storage are new technologies.”

Not even close to being true.
Solar cells were first invented at least 50 to 60 years ago.
Batteries go back much further.

I see no evidence that either will see more than a marginal increase in efficiency or cost in the coming decades.

Reply to  Vincent
July 24, 2020 8:24 am

Digital cameras became cheap because the memory that they used became cheap. They would have become cheaper even if nobody bought them.

You are assuming that since one technology improved, that all technologies will improve equally.
Nobody who knows anything about technology would make such a stupid assumption.

Reply to  Vincent
July 24, 2020 9:45 am


If you need to mandate roof design, then it is not a reasonable solution. If it is reasonable solution then people would eventually do it on their own. Stay off my roof.

(If, in reading the above, you did not wonder what I meant when I wrote ‘reasonable solution’ and then ask yourself, ‘what the hell problem is being discussed’ then … “you just might be a useful idiot”)

Reply to  Vincent
July 25, 2020 9:11 am

Vincent: You need to obtain these figures yourself, so you know they are from a legitimate source, but here is what you need to do:

1. determine the total amount of solar energy falling on a square meter at your location
2. find the theoretical maximum efficiency of a solar cell
3. determine your electrical consumption.
4. using the above data, determine the minimum number of square meters of solar panels needed for your consumption (and remember, there are other sources of loss we are ignoring)
5. compare that to the surface area of your roof.

I strongly suspect you will see the basic problem with your dream. I crunched the numbers for me, and if my entire roof were one, big solar cell, it would not produce enough power in the summer time, when both the solar energy and my consumption are high, or in the winter, when both are low. And that’s without trying to power an ev.

Reply to  Vincent
July 25, 2020 10:29 am

“An analogy is the digital camera which captures energy from light. The first digital cameras were very, very expensive and very inefficient with a small number of megapixels. Over 2 to 3 decades later they have become amazingly efficient products.”

Which is because the CCD chips improved substantially.

That’s typical in electronics, and completely not-analogous to other markets like solar panels and batteries. We’ve been trying to build a light, cheap, high-efficiency battery for over a hundred years now, and lithium is the best we’ve come up with for the mass market.

“It would also be sensible to legislate that all roofs should be flat, and/or sloping slightly towards the general direction of the sun, to maximize the absorption of sunlight.”

Why the heck would you want a flat roof? Around here, that would be a recipe for roof collapse and attic flooding, and would provide no power for half the year because it would be covered in several feet of snow.

Reply to  Vincent
July 26, 2020 7:34 am


My brother in law is quite a smart fellow, when he went for his PhD his thesis project was working on improving solar cells. He was a true believer in solar and absolutely convinced he could make large improvements in efficiency. By the time he completed his project he was telling everyone to stay away from solar panels and the industry as a whole (I was considering getting a job at a new manufacturing facility at the time). In his opinion they were about maxed out on efficiency and would not/could not become economic so the whole thing would collapse. This was 15 years ago, hasn’t collapsed yet but he wasn’t wrong because you can’t predict how long a government will prop up an industry.

July 24, 2020 1:53 am

“Who could have seen this coming?”
I have: the moment a citizen makes a new profit, the taxman invents a new tax.
Next step: tax electric cars when all petrol cars have been replaced.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Hans Erren
July 24, 2020 5:37 am

And to implement that tax you must install black boxes in every EV to track their use. Soon after they will implement a usage limit per vehicle and then a boundary limit per vehicle. With government, after it starts it never ends.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
July 25, 2020 9:18 am

Not how government works. They will never limit anything, because that limits them and the wealthy; they will just have a progressive tax structure. Driving will become exorbitantly expensive after a certain number of miles, which is fine if you are wealthy, or a member of government and are reimbursed for expenses.

(And remember, for those of you who drive less than five thousand km a year, you will pay NO tax. Others will completely subsidize you! So give me your vote!).

But you will be free to drive as much as you desire…

Reply to  Hans Erren
July 26, 2020 8:00 am

Oregon already tested a system of using GPS to track your movement and tax on a per mile driven basis. Why not just use the odometer? They also want the ability to do time of day tiered taxing for congestion. Oh yeah, they also promised they wouldn’t be using the GPS data for anything other than taxing purposes, no big government here! Of course there’s these pesky little laws about government keeping all data they collect, then there’s the public records laws allowing people to view those records or even if there’s a carve out exemption a judge can still approve access (and law enforcement will use it). If there isn’t an exemption the state will just sell the information to anyone who asks to raise funds like they do with all the other data they collect. Did you know Oregon already sells our DMV records to private companies?

July 24, 2020 2:39 am

Solar give backs screws the grid – it provides power when not required, forcing reliable plants to cut back, increasing rates, and requires those plants to exist to booot, which costs a lot of money, even
when they are producing no power for the grid. Solar owners should not be paid prices that are totally ridiculous for unwanted power – uncontrollable power is of little value.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  ColMosby
July 24, 2020 3:20 am

The first thing it does is cause local over-voltages for the neighbours, burning out their appliances. It may even burn out the local transformer if there are too many connected homes exporting at close to capacity.

Reply to  It doesn't add up...
July 24, 2020 8:05 am

“local over-voltages” in Australia they
1) reduced the official AC main voltage from 240v (single-phase) +/-6% to 230v +10%/-6%. This allows more transformers to be tapped down to increase the headroom for PV (increases voltage) while keeping the same maximum voltage rating for equipment (eg. 255v to 270v).
2) grid operators can refuse to connect Solar PV grid inverters to the grid
3) grid operators limit KW peak per phase per house and per transformer.
You may miss out if too many neighbours install Solar PV.

Solar PV feed in tariffs should be reduced so the retailers can pass savings onto the grid operators who have to build capacity and manage flow&loads. About AUS$0.04/kWh would be more like it than over 8 cents. Plus the option for no NET metering.
It gets more complicated to determine who has to pay for what. It was much easier with State owned utilities that controlled generation, grid & retail.
Someone who now wants to connect larger solar PV to the grid, EV superchargers or double the population/street should be thankful of past “gold-plated grid” expenditure which they now need to enable that extra use and backup.
It doesn’t look so “gold-plated” now when a 1000KVA transformer designed for 100 average homes would be lucky to keep 8x 100kW EV chargers running (by themselves). So, we’re stuck with 5kW per phase per home if everyone had them. Upsize the transformers in the street then needs wires in the street upgraded, it’s supply from the sub-station upgraded, the sub-station supply upgraded etc. SDo, charge at your own at home from your own solar PV or at work/shops during the day from their solar PV. It’s still more infrastructure, erratic demand and requires more management of supply-vs-demand than previous. Yes it’s doable but not cheap&easy as they promise.

Reply to  tygrus
July 24, 2020 8:28 am

If only everyone understood the above comments, we wouldn’t be destabilizing the grid, or punishing the local grid operator to have that capacity available at noon for 5-6 hours, and then not be able to sell their grid electricity, while everyone else takes advantage of their grid infrastructure and expects to be paid for their retail surplus at a retail rate which is now a surplus, because everyone has it at once. Madness, and implemented by Gov’t decree. This is why there has to be a limit to installed solar generation as it just messes the grid operator up, every day. At some point it just doesn’t work when that rooftop solar capacity is too high. And very unfair to the grid operator who has to work around all this, every day. And then when it is cloudy and rainy with no rood top generation, then everyone just expects the grid to deliver.

Reply to  It doesn't add up...
July 24, 2020 8:31 am

A step-down transformer can be turned around and used as a step-up transformer.
It works perfectly fine in theory, and as long as you don’t stress it too hard, it works in practice as well.
The problem is that the transformer was designed to work with power flowing one way through it. The size of wires, the type of insulation, the way the wires are wrapped and how the core is shaped are designed to make the transformer the most efficient STEP-DOWN transformer possible.
Pushing power the other way works, but it stresses the transformer in ways it was not designed to handle.

Transformers could be designed to work equally well with power going in both directions, however they won’t be as efficient in either direction as a purpose built one.

Reply to  MarkW
July 24, 2020 9:33 am

One of the leading causes of one of the big fires in California a few years back, was rooftop solar back feeding the grid, and overloading the local 14.4 KVA distribution transformer on single phase. When it started arcing before it blew its fuse, a simple spark lit the fire that turned into a monster fire. But PG&E of course got the blame for that because it was their grid distribution transformer on their pole. But the current was going in reverse through the transformer which also had some other net metering houses on it as well. A fully loaded transformer delivering max current is going to get hot, and hotter with the same current going in reverse. Usually the cut out fuse goes first, but in reverse, the fuse still sees the same amps, but the transformer reacts differently to back feeding than delivering current. One remedy is to oversize the transformer, supply a smaller back feed than the transformer rating, or put a smaller amp rating fuse in that goes first. None of that was done.

Ed Zuiderwijk
July 24, 2020 2:50 am

Solar peaks at the wrong time of day? Well I never!

July 24, 2020 4:12 am

I’m surprised that it is not obvious that the success of solar energy as an alternative energy source is largely dependent on battery technology.

Currently, expensive battery storage is the main obstacle, but technology is progressing. Refer the following link:

“IBM Research is reporting that it has discovered a new battery chemistry that is free from heavy metals like nickel and cobalt and could potentially out-perform lithium-ion. IBM Research says that this chemistry has never been used in combination in a battery before and that the materials can be extracted from seawater.

The performance of the battery is promising, with IBM Research saying that it can out-perform lithium-ion in a number of different areas – it’s cheaper to manufacture, it can charge faster than lithium-ion and can pack in both higher power and energy densities. All this is available in a battery with low flammability of the electrolytes.”

Ken Irwin
Reply to  Vincent
July 24, 2020 5:25 am

For a battery to compete with the energy density of fossil fuel an improvement of 200 times (20000%) is required – that’s more than 2 orders of magnitude better.

There is currently no substitute (not even on the distant horizon) to replace fossil fuels for air and ocean transport as well as most land based heavy haulage.

A battery powered jumbo jet would require another 5 jumbo jets worth of batteries – it would not get off the ground.

Maybe some new technology will jump out of the woodwork (invest in unstructured basic research) but I just don’t see batteries cutting it in time to save the Earth.

We’ve only got 10 years – remember.

Reply to  Ken Irwin
July 24, 2020 6:38 am

re: “There is currently no substitute (not even on the distant horizon)”

A little short-sighted in light of developments on some fronts; I remind “straight-line projections into the future based on present science and state-of-the-art is fraught with error.”

Reply to  _Jim
July 24, 2020 8:36 am

Counting on a miracle is not good economic policy.

Reply to  MarkW
July 24, 2020 2:38 pm

re: “Counting on a miracle is not good economic policy.”

Moore’s Law – was, is that fantasy? Would investing in a new vacuum tube manufacturing plant in 1960 have been a good idea? Why not?

Only Dick Tracy (in the comic strips) dared dream up “2-way wrist TV” tech even before we were finished with tubes even. Oh, and Tracy did have a flying “Air Car” IIRC too.

On another front, you might want to sneak a peek under the sheet here to see what progress has been made (b/c I know you’re just dying on the inside to see how this turns out.)

Remember, if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen (IOW, leave the high-reward/unknown-risk investing to those who CAN and will do their own due diligence); don’t be so arrogant in your ‘scientific belief’ to believe you can warrant to others where science WON’T take us in the future.

Reply to  MarkW
July 24, 2020 5:26 pm

hydrino’s still don’t exist.

Pointing out that something is an old technology is the same as declaring that there are no new discoveries to be made?

Reply to  MarkW
July 24, 2020 5:28 pm

Let’s see if I have this straight.
Comic strips predicted wearable communication gear, therefore warp drive is right around the corner?

Reply to  MarkW
July 25, 2020 9:26 am

So -Jim, should we run our space program under the assumption that dilithium crystals will be ready when we need them?

Reply to  jtom
July 25, 2020 10:32 am

re: “should we run our space program under the assumption that dilithium ”

Jxzus people, don’t fall into the same stupid rut MarW falls into.

jtom, this tech is being demonstrated as it is being brought to commercial market.

Dammit! Read what I posted! DO your own G__ D____ due diligence, man! Don’t be a dumb phuquer … I took a year to delve into all the white papers and various tests and the development history … MOST MUPPETS here just take the word of a wiki article or some other guy’s word who has not done ANY serious study on this subject. Again, DON’T BE A MORON.

And. if your’re an idiot like MakW appears to be in evaluating VOLUMINOUS amounts of write-ups and white papers on this subject STAY OUT OF THE DAMN KITCHEN and let the real men make the High-return for risk investments!

Its JUST that damn simple!

Reply to  Ken Irwin
July 24, 2020 7:11 am

It’s clear to me that efficient solar power and durable, low-cost batteries, are not going to ‘save the Earth’. I’m not a climate change alarmist.

However, I am disturbed about the ‘real’ pollution in our environment, from fossil fuels without state-of-the -art emission controls, toxic chemicals, plastic waste on land and in the oceans, and huge quantities of rubbish which should be either recycled or burned, but is too often just dumped on the land.

In modern civilizations everyone’s prosperity depends on the cost of energy. Cleaning up the environment requires energy. Pollution in cities due to automobile exhaust fumes has a health consequence.

An efficient electric car, powered by durable, inexpensive batteries which are recharged from solar roof-top panels, is progress, in my view.

Reply to  Vincent
July 24, 2020 8:37 am

You are free to invest in anything, regardless of how impractical. Just don’t drag the rest of us down your fantasy rabbit hole.

Reply to  Vincent
July 24, 2020 10:09 am

An efficient electric car, powered by durable, inexpensive batteriesmagic which are recharged from solar roof-top panelsmagic, is progress, in my view.

Fixed that for you.

Ken Irwin
Reply to  Vincent
July 24, 2020 11:59 am

Jim and Vincent – Agreed the optimist in me wants these things but the cynical engineer (my profession) continually sneers at my optimism and browbeats me with inane practicalities – mostly to do with the non-negotiable laws of physics and maths.

old engineer
Reply to  Vincent
July 24, 2020 3:11 pm

Vincent July 24, 2020 at 7:11 am

I hope you are around looking at replies to you comment.

You say you are “disturbed about the ‘real’ pollution in our environment.” As well you should be. Most of us that frequent WUWT are concerned about our environment. I spent 35 of My 40 year engineering career working on air pollution problems, mostly emissions from internal combustion engines.

While sincere, you don’t sound very knowledgeable about power production, electrical or otherwise. One of the first first things to understand is that CO2 is not “real” pollution. CO2 is plant food.

Real air pollution, as measured by the EPA’s “criteria” pollutants ( so called because they meet the Clear Air Act’s criteria for an air pollutant), has been brought under control over the past 50 years, so that now all but tiny areas of the country meet the ambient air standards for these pollutants.

Now, about the comment that “An efficient electric car, powered by durable, inexpensive batteries which are recharged from solar roof-top panels, is progress…” Have you really thought that through? Let’s see:

(1) Most people work during the day, and would charge their electric car at night, when there is no sun. So they they would need to store their solar generated electricity in batteries, to later be used to charge the car batteries. So two sets of batteries need.

(2) You assume that everyone lives in a house that has a roof top that faces the correct direction (south in Northern hemisphere, north in the Southern hemisphere), and has a place to charge their car at their house. Even in US, with it’s vast suburbs, the number of people who live in multifamily buildings, with no assigned individual parking, would amaze you. So no place for solar panels, no place to charge the car.

Unfortunately, your idea is not practical on a population-wide scale

Reply to  old engineer
July 24, 2020 7:01 pm

OLD ENGINEER says July 24, 2020 at 3:11 pm
“I hope you are around looking at replies to you comment.”
I am, and I see great confusion, so I’ll address some of your points.

1. I understand very well that CO2 has been mischaracterized as a pollutant, when in fact it is a clear and odourless gas which is fundamentally essential for all life, greens the planet and increases crop production. I’ve stated at least a couple of times that I am not a climate change alarmist.

2. Gasoline and diesel vehicles not only emit ‘real’ chemical pollutants, to varying degrees, but also noise pollutants, as anyone who lives close to a highway or in a city will confirm.

The development of electric vehicles is very sensible, and the reason this development has been so slow is because ‘climate alarmists’ have been worried about the additional demand on electricity from fossil fuels, that would result without first establishing an efficient alternative power system.

3. I understand perfectly that owners of electric vehicles would often not be able to recharge their car batteries DIRECTLY from their roof-top solar panels, which is why I stated in previous posts that the goal is to have affordable battery storage in the house.

When batteries become more affordable, more durable, have greater capacity, and don’t rely upon rare earth metals and scarce resources, and the initial price of electric vehicles falls to the cost of petrol vehicles, then it’s ‘game set and match’. Electric vehicles will not only be significantly cheaper to run, but they are already significantly cheaper to maintain because they have fewer moving parts and require less frequent servicing.

We’ve all heard of the term ‘climate change denier’. Perhaps we now need a new term, ‘Benefits of EV Denier’.

4. I understand perfectly that not everyone lives in a house with a roof which is oriented towards the sun. Most people live in apartments in cities, and covering the roof of the apartment building with solar panels will obviously not be sufficient to meet everyone’s electricity requirements, although new solar technology that can be applied to clear glass windows will help.

I don’t understand why, as an engineer, you would think that one type of technology should fit all circumstances, or it’s not viable.

Hope I’ve managed to clarify these issues for you.

Reply to  old engineer
July 25, 2020 10:42 am

“When batteries become more affordable, more durable, have greater capacity, and don’t rely upon rare earth metals and scarce resources, and the initial price of electric vehicles falls to the cost of petrol vehicles, then it’s ‘game set and match’.”

Translation: when we can magic cars out of nowhere and power them with high-pressure unicorn farts which recharge them in five minutes…

Some of us remember how we were all soon going to driving electric cars in the 70s. New generations, same old claptrap.

Reply to  Ken Irwin
July 25, 2020 8:10 pm

Why are you so negative? Of course it’s understood that one solution does not fit all circumstances. Using batteries to fuel planes, cargo ships, and long haul trucks will be the greatest challenge, and it might never be considered economically feasible, although improvements in battery technology, especially the production of lighter batteries, might make it feasible under certain conditions. The Tesla Semi truck appears to be still under development but might be released later this year.

Reply to  Vincent
July 24, 2020 8:35 am

Solar energy has been a success?

As to this allegedly promising battery, I’ll wait until they actually start making them to proclaim their victory over existing batteries.

July 24, 2020 4:14 am

My neighbor has a perfect solar powered electric system. It charges a 12volt battery on his boat lift. Safer than 120volt system on the water and burdened with few duty cycles.

Grid application, however, is a dispatch nightmare. It is unreliable and adds significant expense.

BUT, it is a politician’s dream…one can promise so many wonderful benefits and then blame others for the failures.

July 24, 2020 4:59 am

In modern culture, it’s just the blokes are paying for their “Aussie Privilege”.

July 24, 2020 6:04 am

“people will just disconnect them and tell them to get stuffed”

Yeah, that’d work if the taxes didn’t include a basic “installed system” tax like the UK television tax.

The installed system tax would be based on existence AND original power capacity without any respect to diminished capacity or whether the person ever sells back to the grid.

July 24, 2020 6:52 am

Animal House (1978)

Otter to pledge Flounder, after the frat boys destroyed Flounder’s brothers new car.

“You f**cked up, … you trusted us”.

The great moral lessons of my youth have been lost to this generation.

July 24, 2020 8:00 am

“because solar power peaks at the wrong time of the day.”

This must only be the case for home based solar power.

I’ve been told over and over again by solar power enthusiasts, that commercial grade solar power maxes out precisely when demand is greatest.

July 24, 2020 9:30 am

‘People will just disconnect them,‘

I think that’s the idea behind this tax😎.

Just get them off the grid and all the problems go away.


Robert of Texas
July 24, 2020 10:38 am

The only FAIR way to do this is to charge people for the potential sunshine that hits their property. Whether they choose to harvest the sunshine or not, they need to pay their fair share of taxes.

And to keep things really fair, all clouds, trees and other forms of shade are to be ignored. We must adjust the tax to be higher the further you are from the equator so that there is not a latitude-entitlement.

For places where people’s rooms are on top of other people’s rooms (Apartments, hotels) we’ll consider each level a separate potential space and tax all of them as if they were separate sunshine covered land. No height entitlements in THIS tax.

The tax will be set to the maximum recorded output for the sun and will include all wavelengths – no shirking this tax!

As soon as this tax is enacted, we can get on with doing something similar with wind taxes.

July 24, 2020 10:41 am

Regarding “because solar power peaks at the wrong time of the day.”: The link cites demand peaking at 7-8 PM, but in late October (in California). In the summer, more solar power is generated, and demand peaks at a sunnier time of the day due to air conditioning. And because buildings have thermal mass, air conditioning can be cranked up when solar panel output is at its peak so it can be used a little less in the hours after solar panel output peaks, when temperature typically peaks.

Pat from Kerbob
July 24, 2020 11:23 am

So the utilities encouraged destabilizing the grid with millions of individual solar contributions and now want to charge people to pay to help to fix the problem they created.

So much stupid, so little time to mock it all.

July 24, 2020 1:21 pm

Solar/PVs never made economic sense. Why should government policies related to PVs? But government politics often do make economic sense for those who have the right connections and politics.

July 24, 2020 2:37 pm

SA currently has a feed in tariff of about 8 AUDcents/kWhr compared to average ex generator price of AUD 6.7 cents. In Victoria it’s about AUD 10 cents. Clearly solar panel owners are being subsidised by all other electricity consumers. And in SA rooftop solar at midday delivers about 650 MW of total generation of 2300 MW. Wind delivers 900 MW. Wind subsidy comes from the right to sell clean energy certificates currently priced at AUD 4 cents as well as receiving the 6.7 cents wholesale price.

Darren P
July 24, 2020 7:39 pm

I notice my fellow South Australian Nick Stokes is awfully silent on the issue

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Darren P
July 25, 2020 4:00 am

Enjoying his taxpayer funded pension I would imagine.

Reply to  Darren P
July 26, 2020 12:24 am

They wouldn’t even let me in to SA at the moment.

Darren Porter
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 26, 2020 6:18 pm

Well silver linings and all that

Malcolm Chapman
July 25, 2020 3:13 am

There was a bloke who worked selling solar panel schemes to U.K. households, on behalf of a company that made its living in this trade. When he moved on from this, he found a new calling advising households who wanted to sue companies that had sold them solar panel schemes, for mis-selling. Customers had been told both that their investment would rapidly repay itself from the power supplied to their homes and the power sold to the grid, and that they were helping the environment. They believed all of these things. Have some sympathy for Mr Preus, who thought he was helping the environment. That’s what the liars told him. And credit to the man who worked selling the schemes, then moved on to helping to sue the sellers. It’s an ill wind… I expect we are going to see quite a lot of fluent and mendacious adaptability of that kind, as the renewable and electric promises hit reality and physics (I don’t have the details to hand, but I guess I could find them – it was something to write about in the newspapers)

July 25, 2020 7:05 pm

MarkG says July 25, 2020 at 10:42 am
“when we can magic cars out of nowhere and power them with high-pressure unicorn farts which recharge them in five minutes…
Some of us remember how we were all soon going to driving electric cars in the 70s. New generations, same old claptrap.”
And some of us remember that electric utility vehicles were in operation during the 1950’s in the UK, for delivery of bottles of milk to houses in the suburbs, in the early hours of the morning. Electric vehicles were used in order to avoid noise pollution which would have awakened people from their sleep too early.

As I’ve mentioned before, a major reason why clean and efficient electric vehicles have not already replaced those disgusting, noisy and polluting, petrol and diesel vehicles, is because alternative energy supplies, such as solar, are not yet sufficient to reliably recharge millions of vehicles.

In other words, if everyone were to drive electric cars, if would make the economy more reliant upon fossil fuels.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Vincent
July 26, 2020 7:28 pm

I recall the 3 wheeler ones used. I got a clip around the ear from the milkman when me and a bunch of other kids drove one off down the street in one!

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