David Bidstrup. The brains trust strikes again

Today’s local rag, (July 2 2020), has an article titled “Solar owners should pay to sell or be paid for switching off”.  The proposal is floated by the Australian Energy Regulator, just another bureaucratic layer in the ongoing electricity fiasco, who is supposed to see that the lights stay on and people are not shafted too badly in the process.

Those of us who follow the saga know the shortcomings of renewable energy and with solar we know that for half a year we get nothing and for the other half we get an amount which varies with the seasonal sun angle and the cloudiness of the day. Some of you may remember some of my earlier posts on the wisdom or otherwise of large solar installations.

Lately there have been noises made by “authorities” about the fact that solar input cannot be controlled and in many instances can put the grid on the edge. We always hear about how Australia is “suited” to solar generation but as always it is the details that rear up and bite us on the bottom.

Governments have thrown money at the people to get them to buy solar systems and when feed in tariffs were first introduced they were exceedingly generous. I have a small 1.5 KW system and receive 54 cents for every KWh I “export” and I pay 39 cents for my “imports”. There are no nasty bills but in winter the “export” is negligible. Summer makes up for it.

This is further evidence, if any was needed, that those who think they know how to run an electricity system are hopeless. Imagine the outcry from the poor fools who have been conned into thinking they can help save the planet and reduce their power bills when they find that their investment is worthless.

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11 Responses to David Bidstrup. The brains trust strikes again

  1. NoFixedAddress


    The 2 greatest confidence tricks played were ‘feed in tariffs’ and calling the boondoggle Renewable.

  2. Rob

    A friend has rooftop panels and is rewarded with a 60c “feed-in” tariff on a good day. Taxpayers generously provided most of the funds for the installation.
    Recently the inverter/regulator failed and the best price for the replacement and its installation was a Chinese unit at a nicely rounded and unsubsidised $2,000.
    How many unsuspecting devotees are about to meet the same fate?

  3. RobK


    I have a small 1.5 KW system and receive 54 cents for every KWh I “export” and I pay 39 cents for my “imports”.

    As you’d be aware, the average size of installations is now around the 6kW for domestic. The incentives have saturated the grid in some areas and the next stage is to further encourage localised storage and self consumption. They seem to be getting away with ramping up costs because people have committed to the extent that prices will rise and extra investment seems the next logical step to protect themselves. It is a recipe for a massive energy divide.
    Smart inverters with batteries sound wonderful (and are great for the enthusiast) but they are not without their issues. Those consumers thinking they will not be calling for maintenance over several years are kidding themselves.
    Feed-in-Tariffs over some discounted wholesale price are dangerous. In WA they are only around the 6c/unit, but even that is generous. The newer systems will have to have more centralised control.

  4. NoFixedAddress

    The solar panels efficiency (sorry David) needs the answer to – How Many Cobalt Digging Congo Kids to the Kilowatt?

    The spivs and charlatans that have malappropriated the word Renewable to describe a Fantasy are evil.

    ASIC and every ‘Public Service’ Consumer mob are fucking dumb as.

    Anyone fancy a hot rock.

  5. NoFixedAddress

    More virgins in the volcano or We’ll all be dead in 6 months.

    Only Six Months to Save the Planet!

    The International Energy Agency says we have only six months left to save the world from global warming:

    [A]ccording to the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), we only have six months left to prevent total climate change disaster.

    “This year is the last time we have, if we are not to see a carbon rebound,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol told the Guardian on Thursday in an article with the headline: “World has six months to avert climate crisis, says energy expert.”

    Is that a promise? Can we count on being left alone by climate scolds as of January 1, 2021? Will Greta Thunberg go back to high school?

    Just kidding. As long as money is being made by “green” industrialists and climate hypesters, they will continue to harangue us. Only when the honeypot dries up will they move on to other frauds.

    Count on it, by mid-2021 the greenies will tell us we have only X years left to save the planet. Again.

    At the link, there is a lot of good stuff about the politicizing of “experts.”


  6. Mark M

    January 22, 2015: The Queensland Leader of the Opposition Annastacia Palaszczuk has spoken of her desire to triple the number of Queenslanders with solar (on a soggy Queensland day)…

    0.17 secs: ” I can’t control the weather”


    Not even the magic negro …

    09/05/12: Rain concerns forcing the Democrats to move President Obama’s convention speech to a smaller venue Thursday night won’t dampen spirits or dilute the president’s message, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday.

    The Democratic leader said the weather is “a higher power” that the president can’t control.

    “There are some decisions that are made from a different place and whether it rains or not is not in the president’s control.”


  7. Roger

    It is a recipe for a massive energy divide.

    Pensioners in rented accomodation subsidising millionaires.

    Where’s the social justice?

  8. Tony Taylor

    Yeah, I get 11c/kWh for my solar output, while I pay 29 to import.

    And as for “pay to sell” – I already pay a “Home Supply Charge” of $1.16 per diem to export to the network, which to me is just a rort. Fortunately they call it a “Secure Saver” charge, so it’s all good.

  9. Boambee John


    Did you really expect that the money tree would grow forever? Once they have you by the short and curlies, then they wind the subsidies back, and you are stuck with the sunk cost.

  10. John A

    Tom Bombadil “I am no weather-master, nor is aught that goes on two legs!”
    From Tolkien JRR Lord of The Rings trilogy: I ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’

  11. John Dee

    My neighbour had 6Kw solar installed about 18 months before me – on a partly shaded roof.
    He was seduced by the huge feed-in tariff promised. The setup cost a little shy of $20,000 so cost recovery was a serious issue and a Government promise of any kind ought to always be regarded with suspicion (read disbelief and much mirth).
    I bought 6Kw system after the huge feed-in tariffs were reduced dramatically and paid just under $8000.
    My calculations leading to purchase disregarded feed-in tariffs.
    Tariff history in the years since have been 6c / 8c / 17c / 15c currently.
    I ignore supplier bleatings about tariffs and grid instability particularly when they buy from a private solar installation for 6c+ and sell the same electricity back to customers for 29c.
    My intent was to future proof against further large electricity prices and have the ability to use most if not all of the solar output by using cooking, washing appliances during the day and where possible offset the expensive in the roof aircon – which is running right now.
    The unit is paid off (I run a spreadsheet) and my largest bill has been $159 a quarter.
    The home aircon is the determiner – running that without solar support would be ruinous.
    There is a program where I can compare my output with others in my postcode and our installation is consistently in the top 5 or better. This is not because I am smarter or wiser – it is purely location and installation with a bank of solar facing NNE and another facing WNW.
    Our suburban house is much higher than the average surroundings with no shading at all and solar is still being produced until the sun is just about to touch the horizon.
    Even acreage housing could be a problem if low-lying or have large shade trees close to the installation roof.
    My advice is to disregard the naysayers and survey your unique situation:
    Plan on reducing your power bills not on increasing your bank balance.
    There are apps that track the sun’s path over your property and enable you to determine the expected solar result specific to your property.
    Do a spreadsheet – there is a risk/reward.
    You need a reliable, established installer supplier to ensure your 10 year guarantee is fully protected.
    If results of the above are favourable install the maximum you can afford – I would recommend 10 Kw. (I installed 6 to produce 5 Kw which was the maximum allowed at the time.
    Survive the first 2 years with no problems and the risk/reward becomes very favourable.
    Expect a typical system paid for time of around 4 years – but this is very dependent on your particular installation – no shade on arrays – maintenance minimum or none etc.
    You MUST do a spreadsheet.
    Governments are liars.
    Electricity suppliers are masters of deception.
    I still do a spreadsheet on each of them as for example I had a supplier offering a massive discount on consumption but the bottom line showed that supplier to be more expensive at the end of the day because the shortfall was recovered elsewhere in daily or other charges.
    btw…Batteries ? Right now? – only if you are on the south side of stupid. In 5 – 10 years – maybe.
    Get a generator instead – if you have the need.
    If you ever camped/fished north of Noosa you probably have one already.

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