Going solar offers ray of hope in Cairns from rising bills
HARNESSING the Far North's sunny skies may be the only option in avoiding future power price increases, say sustainable housing groups.
Following the Queensland Competition Authority's recommendations for a 21.4 per cent electricity price increase, costing the average household $253 extra per year, Tropical Green Building Network's Emma Thirkell says a rise in solar power popularity could be imminent.
"With the electricity prices going up, it's bringing back the business case for solar," she said.
Ms Thirkell said residents changing their supply to renewable energy and reducing electricity demand would beat power providers at their own game.
"Payback time depends on the size of the (solar inverter) unit, so it's very important to reduce demand."
Cairns-based Naked Energy director Wade Allen said the solar industry had been speculating on a future power price rise since Premier Campbell Newman froze power prices for 12 months after being elected.
"It comes as no real surprise as there has been plenty of talk and speculation around this decision for months," he said.
"Going solar now is always going to be a good thing."
Mr Allen said while feeding surplus electricity into the grid would only earn 8 per kW, residents opting to convert to solar power would see their main saving in the reduction of their power bills.
"I think everyone's mentality has started to change," he said.
"We encourage people to put on a large inverter but only put a couple of kW of panels on.
"Then when the prices for batteries come down (when technology improves), you can throw on extra panels."
Mr Allen said the average family household would need 2kW worth of panels and a 3kW inverter.
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Alternative offering: Cairns-based Naked Energy director Wade Allen says the electricity price rise comes as no real surprise with speculation around the decision for months. Picture: TOM LEE