The political and commercial environment for renewable energy is not what it should be. Despite the fact that 97% of the scientific community agree that global warming is real and poses a significant threat, we are still seeing billions of dollars poured into subsidising polluters, and too many prominent public figures still casting doubt over the reality of man made climate change and the science that measures it.
A trading platform for electricity where you can choose who you buy from, and who you sell to. It’s not far off, and it has the potential to completely reconfigure the energy market.
But despite a lack of action at the big end of town, many, many Australians like yourself have taken matters into their own hands. Solar rooftop installation are generating clean energy all over the country and the numbers are increasing every day. Queensland is leading the way with over 30% of residences equipped with solar rooftop generators. Source: http://pv-map.apvi.org.au/historical
These systems are capable of generating power for the residences and in many cases, are also feeding power back into the grid.
The hidden catch
But here’s the catch. The big energy companies are not paying anywhere near the market rate for the energy that household solar generators are feeding back into the grid. On average, as the owner of a rooftop solar system, you can expect somewhere around 6c /kwh, while the energy companies will sell the energy back at around 29c /kwh. In some cases, a consumer can actually generate more electricity than he or she uses and still pay hundreds of dollars per quarter to their energy provider. Source: http://www.solarcitizens.org.au/fairpricefacts
According to Solar Citizens, once the reduction in transport costs, transmission and CO2 is taken into account a fair price should be between 10c and 18c. Unfortunately the price is set by the power companies, and due to the structure of the system, rooftop solar owners have no say in the price at which they sell their electricity.
To address this situation, the Solar Citizens are driving a campaign to put pressure on government to regulate a minimum price for solar and therefore stop energy companies from taking advantage of energy producers. http://www.solarcitizens.org.au/fairprice.
Given the rigid structure of the energy system, and the lack of options available, this solution has some merit, and we certainly support the ethos behind it, but we at Localvolts have a bolder plan.
If the system is the problem, change the system
The fundamental problem in the situation described above is that you, the people who are generating the rooftop energy are powerless to affect the price at which you sell energy back to the grid. There is only one customer, and that is your electricity provider, and they are dictating your price. It’s a backward system where the price is set by the buyer.
Localvolts is a new system for buying and selling electricity. It is a system based on a free market, where you, the producer, can set your own price, and as a consumers you can search the market for a supplier that you want to buy from. If you want to buy renewable energy, you can set up your preferences to ensure that you never pay a cent to another coal fired power plant. (Assuming the market can sustain the demand for renewables).
Localvolts is in Beta development at the moment and we are looking for community support to get our platform online by crowdfunding the initial development stage.
To help the Localvolts project, become a financial supporter for as little as $5, or just stay in touch by join our mailing list to stay up to date with our progress as we build a better, fairer energy system for the Australia.