Say solar and two things instantly come to mind – green power and energy savings. Most of us are drawn to solar energy for one, or both of these reasons. But, there’s a bigger picture that’s beginning to take a very good shape, too.
Green energy is certainly helping our society and as more solar panels go on rooftops, its advantages are becoming ever more obvious. By going solar, you are indeed part of a bigger movement that’s helping in more ways than just two.
Here are three lesser known ways in which solar power is helping our economy and society.
It’s One of the Largest Job Creators
Solar power involves complex logistics, storage, installation, maintenance, manufacturing, sales and management tasks that require a skilled workforce to execute. As the overall footprint of solar power in Australia increases, the number of jobs created rises exponentially.
The Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) states that renewable energy as a whole created 26,850 jobs between 2018-19 (latest report), of which solar energy accounted for 75% with 17,810 full-time employment opportunities to its credit.
This trend is only expected to continue. The Australian Energy Market Operator’s Integrated System Plan proposed an ambitious Step-Change proposal to meet the goals set in the Paris Climate Agreement.
The proposal, which offers a layered approach to solar power adoption through 2035 can result in 45,000 jobs created by 2025 and 35,000 jobs per year by 2035. Rooftop solar and wind are expected to be the major contributors to these employment opportunities.
It’s Driving Down Energy Prices
Even though Australia has a resilient electricity grid with over 99% uptime in most cases, the power plants that feed it are singular points of failure that present a sizable challenge.
The huge, cumbersome coal and gas fired plants are also inflexible and cannot pivot to meet new demand as readily as distributed energy networks that use renewable energy sources do.
Thankfully, the rise of rooftop solar is solving these issues by feeding more power into the grid which is driving down electricity costs while increasing grid resilience.
So, how has solar energy been performing? As per the Clean Energy Council, renewable energy is already accounting for 27.7% of all electricity added to the grid in 2020 which was an increase of 3.7% over 2019. The growth is primarily being driven by the more adoption of small-scale solar power which added 3 GW of new capacity in 2020.
For residents and businesses, this means lower electricity costs and even higher grid up-times. The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) in their 2021 report stated that wholesale electricity prices throughout all of Australian states will fall by 2%-10% between 2020-21 and 2023-24. Again, the report lists solar and wind power as the leading drivers of this change.
It’s Greatly Reducing Our Overall Carbon Footprint
A survey in 2020 found that most residents were more worried about the impact of climate change on Australia, particularly after the 2020 bushfires.
Even through 2020, non-renewable sources of energy (largely coal) were the leading emitters of greenhouse gas emissions. But, the shift towards renewable energy is slowly putting an end to that.
Overall, the emission intensity both by capital and per-capita is gradually going down. Emission by capital is expected to fall by 58% and emissions per person may fall by 45% by 2030 relative to 2005.
While a positive development, other sources of emission such as transportation, stationary energy (steam, heat or pressure generation), industrial processes, agriculture, waste and land use will also need to follow suit.
Transportation for example can benefit from including more EVs. Emissions due to HVAC can be brought down by switching to solar powered air conditioning, energy efficient appliances and insulation. Finally, agricultural CO2 emissions can be reduced by including more hydroponic and aquaponic farms that are not only more energy, but water efficient as well.
Going Solar is Easier Than Ever
With the number of government subsidies, product and service options available, you can get a high quality solar power system at highly affordable prices. Even so, we get that going solar is a daunting decision.
We at bidmysolar™ have helped hundreds of homeowners save thousands of dollars on their solar purchase. Our advanced system design process ensures you get the best panels and components at the most reasonable rates, installed by the most qualified CEC accredited solar installers in the country.