South Australia’s Victor Harbor – A Solar Stronghold
Home owners in Victor Harbor, a seaside resort township situated 80 kilometres from Adelaide, South Australia, have been installing solar panels at a cracking pace.
A Clean Energy Council (CEC) report late last year put Victor Harbor installations at 38% of all houses in the area – and the love affair with solar continues.
According to Victor Harbor Renewable Energy Programs, six meters per day were being installed in June 2012; resulting in a least 40% of the town’s houses now featuring solar power systems.
Given the recent 18% rise in electricity prices in South Australia, savings on power bills for Victor Harbor consumers are now estimated at over $1 million per annum – a very impressive outcome given the population of the area.
“This changes our local economy for the better. The money stays here and the opportunity of harvesting what the CSIRO Smart Grid report terms ‘distributed energy,’ becomes an economic opportunity not just for Victor Harbor, but all regional communities,” states the VHREP web site.
The City of Victor Harbor set up a buyer’s group in 2009 that resulted in approximately 3,000 ratepayers across four councils installing solar panels. The group uses the power of bulk purchasing to reduce the cost of installing systems.
Across the Fleurieu Peninsula, the associated carbon emissions reduction of these systems is estimated at 3,000 tonnes per annum.
According to a solar solutions provider a good quality 5kW system can realise electricity bill savings of over $1,800 a year – and similar savings can be achieved throughout the state.
Under South Australia’s feed in tariff program, new participants now receive 25.8c per kilowatt hour minimum for surplus electricity generated by their systems that is exported to the mains power grid.
As reported earlier this week, South Australia has the highest penetration of rooftop solar panels among Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM) regions, with around 20% of SA homes having installed systems by the end of February 2012