CeMAT Insider

Is solar technology ready for the supply chain?

Posted by CeMAT Team on 14-Jul-2016 11:32:05


When it comes to electricity costs within Australia, it’s easy to see why many people have taken a dim view.

Electricity prices have risen somewhat dramatically over the last ten years, with a 90% increase in costs from 2010 to 2015. That’s a period of just five years, and costs are still set to rise.According to Noel Gallagher, Manager Client Solutions at Autonomous Energy, increases in energy costs have stifled the nations opportunity to transform itself into a more efficient economy. So is solar technology the solution to cost savings in the supply chain? 

If you’re reliant on large amounts of energy and large amounts of gas that are constantly increasing in cost, it’s easy to see why this is an issue of concern for Australian businesses. 

Noel refers to the death spiral of electricity utilities as one factor as to why this is occurring.

To put it simply, “the more renewable energy options that become available, the fewer on the grid are using less energy meaning there are less organisations left to pay for a fixed asset.”

So once a consumer seems a cheaper energy alternative that is renewable, they switch from gas or electricity. This pushes to costs back on to the remaining consumers on the grid, who will then also seek out cheaper options as prices keep rising.

On the flip side of this, although utility prices are going up, everything else within renewable energies is coming down. Noel states that the costs of solar panels have continually decreased over the last 3 decades, and the more technology developments, the m ore the price will drop.

“Since 1977 the price of solar panels has plummeted from $70 per watt to under $10”, Noel stated at CeMAT AUSTRALIA 2016.

“Anyone that tells you there isn’t any incentive in renewable energy is mistaken, in ten years solar energy panel have improved in efficiency by over 50%.” Noel continues.

The benefits of solar in Australia are many, and more and more they are proving to be a cheaper alternative to electricity.

“Solar panels are very reliable, there is no maintenance and it’s powered for free by the sun.”

Businesses are finding new and innovative ways of integrating solar systems into new business models. For example, Noel gives the example of Solar Carpark Shading.

Noel states in the next 5-10 years we’ll see an increase in EV charging stations for charging vehicles, and this is just the beginning. 

Solar panels are most likely to grow in use even further, as other renewable technologies are still not able to deliver efficiencies or enough energy.

Take something like batteries for energy storage. Utilising batteries properly in your business requires specific applications and are often custom designed. If the application is right and you have serious energy requirements, on a mass scale battery storage isn’t there yet so you’ll most likely need to supplement your energy needs from somewhere else.

In the hands of a properly designed system batteries have got great potential, however, you’ll find most houses won’t need batteries for a few good years yet.

So it’s fair to say, if your business is stuck on the death spiral of utility companies, you’ll most likely find cost increases to continue on in the next few years.

More and more people are jumping off the grid to find more sustainable and cost-effective energy solutions, and this is placing heavy costs onto those who remain on the grid.

Solar panel technology has improved within the last ten years, and in the next two years the costs have been predicted to drop another 40%.

If you’re looking to save your business money when it comes to energy costs, consider the savings solar panels may provide you.

Topics: Supply Chain Management, Warehouse