Push to make solar compulsory on new homes
SOLAR panels should be compulsory on all new housing builds across the nation, says the green energy industry’s peak body.
Clean Energy Council director of smart energy Darren Gladman said the economics of installing solar in the current climate were favourable.
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“The cheapest time to install solar is when you’re building the house, so if you’re not installing solar when the new home is being built, you’re missing the best opportunity ever. Retrofitting will always be more expensive,” Mr Gladman said.
“There really aren’t any good economic arguments for not installing solar when a house is being built, so we really think that ought to be just across the board, unless there’s a really good reason not to.
“It should be the minimum expectation I think for all new houses.”
Mr Gladman said SA, with high electricity costs and more blackouts than other states, had one of the highest uptakes of rooftop solar in the world.
“I think per capita it is actually the highest in the world, so a lot of the new technology and innovation is going to happen in SA, and we’re already seeing that,” he said.
“We’re seeing battery companies setting up in Adelaide because you’ve already got the basis of a really strong market due to the popularity of solar, and it’s just so logical to be adding batteries to that and that helps strengthen the grid.
“We’re into the phase now where it becomes more a question of ‘why aren’t you doing it?’.”
Master Builders Association of SA chief executive Ian Markos said while solar panels had their benefits, making them a compulsory requirement of a new build was “draconian”.
“Master Builders SA supports consumer choice,” he said. “Individuals should have the freedom to decide what their priorities are based on their income, lifestyle and personal preferences. Housing affordability is always a key issue for the industry, but especially so in the current economic environment of declining building approvals.
Mr Markos said compulsory solar panel installation would add a negligible increase in build time, but could put new homes further out of reach of buyers.
Mechanical engineer Nick Schultz, 32, of Highbury, installed solar panels at his home to reduce his family’s power bills and said while he was happy with them, he didn’t think they should be compulsory on all new builds.
“All of our appliances are electric, and there is normally someone home during the day so it made sense. On my most conservative calculations, the payback was around four years, so it was a no-brainer.”