Why Solar Is Essential right now (and what you can do to stop it from collapsing)

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Solar provides resilience during pandemics

Photo by Dimitri Houtteman on Unsplash

So what does COVID-19 have to do with rooftop solar? A lot, if we want to ensure that solar remains accessible, affordable, and the cleanest energy form available during this uncertain and unstable time.

Across the globe, we are feeling the unfolding effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, the services we depend upon, our way of life and on our families and friends.

Governments are working hard to enact effective containment measures without bringing about systemic collapse of important services and the economy. 

As we all pivot to the new conditions and take measures to shore up our health and financial security, we are calling on governments to allow the solar industry to continue to deliver safe, affordable energy and storage to as many households, commercial operations and organisations as possible.  

The continued provision throughout this crisis of rooftop solar, battery storage and services to maintain these are vital to bolstering the financial resilience of companies, community organisations and households right now, and long into our uncertain, climate change-impacted future.

Why is rooftop solar so important?

Energy is one of the biggest costs to households and companies. Many of us are watching our incomes diminish or are losing employment. We’re confined to our homes meaning higher energy costs. Climate change continues to worsen. But rooftop solar continues to harness the sun to generate the most efficient, least harmful electricity to help ordinary people reduce financial hardship, right where the demand is - on your home..

Rooftop solar is able to save households and businesses thousands of dollars per year, and with finance or tax incentives, these savings can be realised from day one.

The risk

What happens if rooftop solar and residential/commercial batteries are not recognised as an essential service and energy source? What if restrictions are put in place that stop our installers from rolling systems out onto the roofs of 250,000 families and small businesses this year? 

If the solar, storage and distributed energy industry grinds to a halt, the jobs of over 6,000 small businesses and 20,000 employees are at immediate risk. Moreover, households and businesses will be unable to access services to maintain their existing solar system in the event it stops delivering power, or to install a new solar system that will save them money in this time of financial stress.

What we can do about it

So how do we stop the solar industry from collapsing? We need governments to allow households and businesses to continue to purchase solar and battery storage systems, and solar installers to be able to safely install solar systems without risk of spreading COVID-19. By affirming that solar and distributed energy sources are an essential service, solar installers will be able to continue providing energy relief to their customers without any need for personal face to face contact.

So here are 10 great reasons Why Solar Is Essential to share with your family, friends, co-workers, neighbours, and your local convenience store owner (safely, of course)...

  1. Solar is low contact. There is no need for entry to your home and strict new measures are already being implemented to protect installers and solar owners from the spread of infection.
  2. Solar reduces costs. Solar reduces financial exposure for households and businesses, especially in the face of diminished incomes and escalating energy use at home*.
  3. Solar jobs support local economies. The solar industry employs 20,000 people across Australia and, importantly, in regional areas which have been hard-hit by bushfires and drought.
  4. Solar reduces carbon emissions. Continued deployment of new solar and storage will mean Australia’s efforts to tackle climate change do not come to a dangerous grinding halt at this critical time. 
  5. Off grid requires solar. Solar is essential in off grid situations where it is the primary source of energy for thousands of homes across Australia.
  6. Solar enables energy security. In uncertain times, solar is the clear path to transition to a decentralised power supply and energy security.
  7. Solar supports the grid. Without the support of rooftop solar, there is a higher risk of blackouts, as evidenced in South Australia in recent years.
  8. Solar creates independence. Soar sets the groundwork for future energy assurity and independence; potentially crucial for another pandemic.
  9. Solar helps build resilience. When communities can rely on solar to reduce bills, provide reliability during outages, and provide low-cost energy when they need it the most, they strengthen their resilience. and...
  10. Solar owners need support from installers. Solar owners need maintenance services from the solar industry now more than ever to keep their essential solar systems delivering low-cost power.

In just one word? Solar provides RESILIENCE.

Solar provides resilience during pandemics

 

How the solar industry is responding

In response to COVID-19, the Clean Energy Council is requesting that the governments clearly recognise the essential nature of the construction/installation, operation and maintenance of renewable energy and energy storage including rooftop solar PV.

Solar Analytics supports the CEC and believes that as long as Australia is not in total lockdown, the installation of rooftop solar should continue where those who can safely work with negligible human contact are able to continue. If lockdown is enforced as we have seen in Italy and California, we will support any Government decree to allow only genuinely essential services such as medical, groceries, should continue, as well as emergency safety repairs for electricity including solar. 

How to get started with solar

If you or your circle of influence don’t have solar yet, here are a few great resources to help you get started during this critical time:

1. Get an estimate of how much solar will fit on your roof with Sunspot

(Be mindful when drawing the shapes on the roof that solar panels are rectangular and do not fit neatly into triangles!)

2. Get an estimate of your energy savings with the SolarQuotes savings calculator tool

3. Go to Solar Analytics and input your details to get recommendations for installers near you.

4. Always specify that solar monitoring with consumption capability be included in your quote, to make the biggest savings with your solar.

We encourage you to share this article with those around you to support our industry as #SolarIsEssential.

Footnotes

* Domestic energy usage patterns during social distancing, 22nd March 2020, Octopus Energy: