A report commissioned by the Federal Government in September 2008 has found that grid connect solar panels are the most inefficient way of tackling climate change. Roger Wilkins, former head of the NSW cabinet office who championed the report, has concluded that solar grid technology costs $400 for each tonne of carbon dioxide abated which he says is higher than any feasible market price on carbon emissions.

The main focus on the Roger Wilkins report is on carbon dioxide abatement rather than incorporating the entire spectrum of challenges our world is facing. Hence, energy generation and conservation of energy need to be included in any rational debate facing our country in terms of both energy security and CO2 reductions.

Mankind’s rapid success, only 100 Years after the Industrial Revolution, has come about due to the abundance of cheap fossil fuel. For at least the next 100 years there is unlikely to be any cheap substitute for delivering the 10 terawatts of electricity the world currently needs each year to maintain its current level of economic activity, not to mention the many other uses fossil fuels have other than the main role it plays in transport, fuel and electricity generation.

By now you may be asking about nuclear. If all the world’s fossil fuelled power stations were replaced with nuclear stations, the world would run out of uranium within 15 years. At best nuclear power stations could only provide a bridging role in the transition.

Our current economy’s energy needs are met using ancient solar energy. This MUST be replaced with energy which has recently arrived on earth from the sun. When looking for solutions, there is no quick fix. No silver bullet. However, Solar Grid Systems will have to provide a vital role. Firstly, the power they produce is used onsite or in close proximity to the home where it was produced (saving transmission costs). Secondly, Solar Grid Systems provide reliable electricity when it is needed most – during peak sun hours.

The other hidden benefit that Solar Grid Systems provide to our economy is generation of power for electric vehicles. The average Australian home uses 16 kW hours of energy per day. If that same house were to plug in an electric car (the equivalent in size to a Ford Falcon) the energy required for the electric vehicle’s batteries would be around 40 kW hours.  This is a massive increase in energy consumption for that home. Eventually, with mass volumes, Australia’s electrical grid will become overwhelmed by the energy demand which is already 7 years away from needing urgent attention (and that’s WITHOUT electric vehicles).

Since the transmission and storage of electricity is the critical element, solar panels on the home can significantly address this challenge as we adapt to new processes and technologies.