More Australian businesses are investing in solar power than ever before.
According to new data from solar consultancy firm Sunwiz, December 2016 was a record investment month in the renewable technology by Australian businesses.
Managing Director of Sunwiz, Warwick Johnston said Australian businesses invested a total of $33 million in solar energy in December 2016.
“On a month-to-month basis, this is a record investment from Australian businesses in solar panels.”
The household sector also saw growth with $70 million was invested in December — more than a 30 per cent rise over the last 12 months.
Mr Johnston said the growth was part of an overall trend.
“Over the course of this year, we’ve certainly seen an increase,” he said.
“We’ve come down from the ‘solarcoaster’ when people flooded the market to take advantage of rebates.
“But over the space of this last year we’ve seen the solar industry rebuilding as more and more people come to purchase solar panels.”
He put the growth down to rising electricity prices among changes to the Federal Government’s renewable energy rebate.
“We did see a slight reduction in the Federal Government’s rebate in January 2017 and that might have brought some people out of the woodwork ”
Mr Johnston said Australian solar companies were getting better at marketing their products.
“Particularly toward businesses — there’s been quite a focus in recent times on selling the benefits of solar power to Australian businesses,” he said.
According to Mr Johnston, a ripple effect was also taking place in the marketplace, whereby companies were observing their contemporaries investing and thinking solar could be a good investment.
Wine industry seeing particular growth
Co-owner of the Solar Project, a renewable energy supplier based in South Australia, David Buetefuer said over the last 12 months his company had seen more wineries invest in solar.
“Nationally wineries have always been in the forefront of investing in solar, however it’s really in the last five years that solar has been invested in significantly,” he said.
“There was a hiatus in investment, but that’s kicked on in the last 12 months.”
Mr Buetefuer said nationally high electricity prices were the main cause for strong investment, coupled with solar power becoming cheaper.
“All businesses, but wineries specifically would like to be freed of the typical energy monopolies,” he said.
“And the price of power is doing erratic stuff, at the moment the erraticism has gone upwards.”
Mr Buetefuer suggested solar power also allowed wineries better control over their power bills.
“Solar and renewables allows them to generate power, reduce their costs and get some stability,” he said.