Report: Business not waiting for lower power prices, 46,000 have installed PV

Rooftop PV is becoming a no-brainer for Australian businesses. The Climate Council published a report today in which it outlined the rapid growth of renewable energy applications to supply Australian businesses with affordable, clean energy, and the increasing cost competitiveness of solar, wind and concentrated solar power.

The Climate Council set out the numbers: 46,000 Australian businesses have adopted rooftop PV systems, the market segment grew 60% year-on-year from 2016 to 2017, and the number of C&I solar installations have doubled since the start of 2016.

Furthermore, the Climate Council reports that a further 46% of major Australian companies are currently “actively procuring renewable energy.”

The findings were published in the Renewables and Business: Cutting Prices and Pollution report.

While Australian politics, particularly at a federal level, has been mired in a highly polarized and contentious debate about renewables and energy policy, it appears that businesses in the country are acknowledging the country’s new competitive advantage. Conservative voices have long argued that given Australia’s abundant of coal and natural gas reserves, that energy should be cheap.

However, with the wide-open spaces requiring a long and, often, skinny grid to be maintained, network costs have spiralled – now comprising the vast majority of electricity tariffs for Australian business.

These energy price increases for business have been exacerbated, the Climate Council Argues, by increasing gas exports, an overinvestment in electricity infrastructure, and “uncertainty regarding national climate and energy policy.”

The new cost reality within the electricity sector is further accelerating the adopting of clean generation sources by business. The new normal is that the cost of renewable energy from solar PV and wind has fallen so precipitously that clean sources are not only attractive, but the new competitive advantage for Australian industry. The abundance of space and sunlight also plays to this strength.

The adoption of renewables by business is in step with community expectations. “80% of Australians believe big business should be using renewable energy and 76% of Australians would choose a product or service made with renewable energy over a comparable product that is not,” the Climate Council report states.

The new Climate Council report sets out six case studies, illustrating how Australian businesses are successfully adopt solar PV and CSP technology to bring down energy bills.