Are solar panels a middle-class purchase? This survey says yes

phys.org | 6/13/2018 | Staff
MonkeyBubble (Posted by) Level 3
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The latest research suggests that in Australia, rooftop solar photovoltaics are more likely to be adopted by middle-class households.

The rate of growth in residential rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV) in Australia since 2008 has been nothing short of breathtaking.

Research - Households - Spree - Investment - Power

Our new research suggests that the households most likely to join in the solar spree are those that are affluent enough to afford the upfront investment, but not so wealthy that they don't worry about their future power bills.

Australia now has the highest penetration of residential rooftop PV of any country in the world, with the technology having been installed on one in five freestanding or semi-detached homes. In the market-leading states of Queensland and South Australia this ratio is about one in three, and Western Australia is not far behind, with one in four having PV.

PV - Panels - Households - Control - Electricity

While PV panels give households more control over their electricity bills, and each new installation helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the market's rapid expansion has posed significant challenges for the management of the electricity system as a whole.

Unlike other industries where goods can be warehoused or stockpiled to manage fluctuations in supply and demand, electricity is not yet readily storable. Storage options such as batteries are now commercially available, but haven't yet reached widespread use. This means that a system operator is required to keep the grid balanced in real time, ideally with just the right amount of capacity and backup to manage shocks in supply or demand.

Amount - Generation - Capacity - Electricity - Relies

Securing the right amount of generation capacity for the electricity grid relies on long-term planning, informed by accurate supply and demand forecasts. Too much investment means excessive prices or assets lying idle (or both). Too little means longer, deeper or more frequent blackouts.

But as solar panels spread rapidly through the suburbs, the job of forecasting supply and demand is getting...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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