Tasmanian households asked to have their say on solar and batteries

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Researchers are wanting to hear from Tasmanian households on how they manage their electricity needs, their views on home solar and batteries, and how this could impact on future electricity infrastructure.

More than 17,000 households across Tasmania have participated in the government-initiated solar photovoltaic Feed-in Tariff scheme.

The scheme provides households with generous payments for exporting electricity from rooftop solar photovoltaic panels to the electricity grid.

Tasmanian customers are receiving 27 c/kWh on the premium tariff scheme which will end on 31 December, 2018.

University of Tasmania researchers have launched an online survey in a bid to learn more about how households plan to manage their electricity needs once the Feed-in Tariff scheme ends.

Researchers also aim to discover how households currently without solar might alter their household energy set up in the future.

“The purpose of this survey is to improve our understanding of household decision-making around energy generation and consumption,” Dr Evan Franklin from the School of Engineering said.

“In particular, we are wanting to hear from those households who will come off the premium Feed-in Tariff at the end of 2018, and gauge their attitudes towards residential battery take up.

“With the scheme finishing at the end of 2018, many of those households will be looking for new ways to maximise the use of their existing solar energy generation.

“The cost of batteries continues to fall, making them an increasingly attractive option for householders wishing to take more control of energy in the home.

“It is anticipated that many will consider purchasing home energy battery storage, of which there are now a large range commercially available.”

The survey has been developed by Anthony Broese van Groenou, a PhD researcher in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania.

“As part of the survey, we are particularly interested on the uptake of battery storage because residential energy storage has the potential to dramatically alter the operation and reach of Australia’s electricity grid,” Mr Broese van Groenou said

“We have a unique opportunity to capture this particular moment in time, where Tasmanian households and energy utilities can work together in choosing smart residential battery storage to provide benefits on both sides.”

Dr Franklin said results from the survey should also serve to assist TasNetworks, the State Government, and other energy organisations, in preparing for future energy needs across the State.

Participants taking part in the survey will also be offered the chance to win one of five Solar Analytics monitoring units, complete with installation and one year of data analysis, valued at over $400 each.

Mr Broese van Groenou’s PhD is part of a wider project led by Associate Professor Heather Lovell called Smart Grids Messy Society, funded by the Australian Research Council’s Future Fellowships Program.

His PhD is supervised jointly by Associate Professor Lovell in the School of Social Sciences and Dr Evan Franklin in the School of Engineering.

Associate Professor Lovell and Dr Franklin are co-directors of Future Energy at the University of Tasmania – a cross-disciplinary research group covering energy-related research across the social, technical and economic spectrum.

Source: UTAS

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