Solar Gardens – Providing Flexibility for Renters, Apartment Owners.
Australia has had a massive uptake of solar power but the standard model of individuals installing a restricted number of panels on the roof of their property has its limitations.
Solar gardens are being explored as an alternative – large centralised solar PV systems are installed and customers can lease or buy panels with the energy produced by the panels being credited against the customer’s home electricity bill by the provider. This allows the growing number of renters, those who live in apartments, or whose roofs are not suitable for solar panels to benefit from solar panels.
The Institute for Sustainable Futures has undertaken a series of comprehensive models to determine the viability of solar gardens. Based upon the models’ results, it was determined that financial benefits were minimal unless the solar gardens are subsidised due to the costs associated with using the grid to transport energy from the solar gardens, to a retailer, and then a customer. However considering there exist multiple subsidies for rooftop solar across the country and government funding promises for community energy projects, there are options that could potentially improve the financial feasibility of solar gardens.
Establishing viable solar gardens has many complexities, and solar gardens currently face many challenges but it is worthwhile keeping an eye on the entities that are working through these hurdles. The Institute of Sustainable Futures have published their results here that run through the modelling studies and dive deeper into the considerations of solar gardens.