Economics Environment Upriser

Solar has won. Even if coal were free to burn, power stations couldn’t compete

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Australia is about to go “off grid”. At least 40% of the consumers are thought to do so by 2018.

That is if the “system” will let them.

Last week “Negative pricing” occurred during normal working hours. Negative pricing is not uncommon it just normally happens when everyone is asleep.

Why did this happen? Roof Top Solar.

The influx of rooftop solar has turned the normal expensive coal and oil industry model on its head. There is 1,100MW of it on more than 350,000 buildings in Queensland alone (3,400MW on 1.2m buildings across the country). It is producing electricity just at the time that coal generators used to make hay (while the sun shines).

The good news is that there is NO WAY that the old system can compete with rooftop solar.

“Just the network charges and the retailer charges alone add up to more than 19c/kWh, according to estimates by the Australian energy market commissioner. According to industry estimates, solar ranges from 12c/kWh to 18c/kWh, depending on solar resources of the area, Those costs are forecast to come down even further, to around 10c/kWh and lower.”

The truly scary prospect for coal generators, however, is that this equation will become economically viable in the big cities. Investment bank UBS says this could happen as early as 2018.

The CSIRO, in its Future Grid report, says that more than half of electricity by 2040 may be generated, and stored, by “prosumers” at the point of consumption. But they warn that unless the incumbent utilities can adapt their business models to embrace this change, then 40% of consumers will quit the grid.

[SOURCE](http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/07/solar-has-won-even-if-coal-were-free-to-burn-power-stations-couldnt-compete?CMP=fb_gu)

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“Solar has won. Even if coal were free to burn, power stations couldn’t compete”