While recent advances in solar and storage technology mean customers could choose to leave the grid entirely, independent analysis by Oakley Greenwood shows it is unlikely to deliver better financial outcomes or better services.
The study quantifies the often “hidden” services that customers receive from the Grid, and how much it would cost a customer to supply themselves. If your family or your business is after an equivalently safe, reliable and hassle free service as today ‐ this research shows that, to provide a nearly equivalent service, a stand alone power system would cost $600 to $850 per month or 5 to 6 times the cost of grid supply.
A Do‐It‐Yourself solution is unlikely to be the best outcome ‐ over the course of a year, the connected customer is up to $8,700 better off than they would be with a stand alone power system providing a nearly equivalent service. A disconnected customer would also lose grid benefits like the ability to sell surplus energy or participate in new markets which may emerge using distributed energy resources – such as demand response markets or balancing services.
The overwhelming majority of the rooftop PV systems installed to date are on homes that continue to be connected to the grid. There is a quantifiable benefit to the network as a result of solar installations and the analysis suggests that a solar customer connected to the network in an aligned manner helps to lower the cost of network services, estimated at approximately $10 per month.
The reverse is true though – grid services provide demonstrable benefits to solar households, about 7 times greater. This includes the value of the back up service to the customer (of $61 per month) by providing reliable power at night or when it is cloudy. It also includes market access which allow consumers to sell their power into the grid (valued at $8 per month). In addition the grid provides a range of services that are often hidden, but which consumers benefit from.
- Startup power services, supporting appliances like air‐conditioners that temporarily increase demand by 4 to 5 times when they start up.
- Balancing services, instantaneously adapting to the customers changing demand throughout the day which can be difficult for solar pv systems alone.
- And power quality services that protect the safe operation of home appliances.
It is clear that in the future energy users will have more choices about the source of their energy supply. However those choices must be based on transparent information and a practical assessment of the costs. Not only to them but to their broader community.
Read the full analysis from Oakley Greenwood The Value of a Grid Connection to a Distributed Generation Customer November 2014
The Value of the Grid to Solar Customers
More services than you might think....
In the future, energy users will have more choices about the source of their energy supply.They may take their energy from the grid, or a combination of onsite sources and the grid.Some may consider leaving the grid entirely.
The grid provides a range of services that are often hidden, but which consumers benefit from.
Your Grid - Worth a closer look
Your Electricity Grid
The Electricity Grid has been called the ‘world’s largest machine’ – an integrated, dynamic system.
With Australian households using more appliances in their daily lives for communication, comfort and convenience the electricity grid plays an essential part in our lives.