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How to save money when feed-in-tariff is down?
Recently, the solar feed-in tariffs in Australia and New Zealand have decreased significantly. According to the report from PV Magazine, Victoria's Essential Services Commission decided to decrease the minimum solar feed-in tariffs in Victoria from the current 10.2 cents/kWh to 6.7 cents/kWh, shrinking around 34% from July of 2021. Meanwhile, according to the legislative suggestions made by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), Australians with solar panels might even be charged for exporting power into the grid. Although AEMC claims that the plan is not designed to create mandatory export charges, but to create more flexibility and pricing options, it would still in fact significantly decrease the benefit of householders with the PV systems. So it seems that we are looking at a golden opportunity for the energy storage industry.
For users who rely on PV system for electricity, they can mainly benefit from the system in two ways: one, they can use PV panels to generate electricity to supply the house load, and two, they can feed in the unused PV power to the grid and gain revenue through feed-in tariffs. However, the shortcomings are also very obvious. For example, in the nighttime, users have no choice but to rely on the grid, even during the peak period of electricity consumption with a higher price. In addition, if a blackout ever takes place, the PV inverter will stop working immediately for safety reasons. Once this happens, users cannot use the PV power even in the daytime. Besides, if the feed-in tariffs continue to decline, even drop below zero, the benefits from the PV system will become less and less.
However, if you have an energy storage system, everything will change. The unused PV power during the day will be stored in the system, so that even during the peak period at night, there is no need to use electricity from the grid since the system will take power directly from the batteries. This will help the users truly achieve energy independence. Furthermore, whenever a blackout occurs, the energy storage system will not stop working like a PV inverter, and the battery can still provide power for the entire house. Therefore, the decrease of feed-in tariffs will not affect the users with the energy storage system at all.
In our perceptions, the price of a lithium battery is very high. Actually, in the past 7 years, the price of lithium batteries from cell to pack level has dropped 80%, mainly due to the scale of the economy and inflation. According to the prediction from Dr. Dong Lin in SEC 2021, the cost of energy storage systems should remain at a similar level for the next 12 months and may increase after that. This means that now may be the best time to select batteries for your family. Additionally, with an energy storage system, users are able to make extra income by joining the Virtual Power Plant (VPP). By allowing the grid to draw from your battery, customers can save extra money while helping eliminate blackouts and contributing to a new alternative to fossil fuels.
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