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    New report: electric + solar homes the best economic decision for buyers

    Geraldine Chua

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    New homes that combine electricity with solar power will save their owners up to $18,000 more in energy costs compared to homes that run on gas and electricity, according to a new report by the Alternative Technology Association (ATA).

    The report, Household Fuel Choice in the National Electricity Market, looked at the total cost of ownership (purchase, installation and running cost) over the next 10 years, and found that the best economic decision for homeowners is to establish new, all-electric home with a 5kW solar system.

    “There is just no reason economically for new homes to be built with both electricity and gas,” says report co-author and ATA energy analyst, Dean Lombard.

    “This has been the case for many years in Australia’s north, but it’s now also clearly the case in colder climates like Victoria and Tasmania. Heat pump hot water and split system air-conditioning systems are just far more efficient than gas appliances, and solar systems are cheaper than ever.”

    Practically, this means homeowners should invest in efficient electric appliances like heat pump hot water systems, split-system air-conditioners and LED lighting working with large solar systems.

    The only exceptions are Sydney and Adelaide, where the cost of going all-electric or dual-fuel is similar—if the home does not feature a solar system.

    Funded by Energy Consumers Australia, the report seeks to guide residential consumers on the most cost-effective options for new Class 1 dwellings across different climate zones, as well as gas and electricity pricing zones.

    Along with new home buyers, it also calls for the education of building and energy industries in the “substantial value of solar-based, all-electric homes”.

    “New Class 1 dwelling approvals will total almost two million by 2030. Very few of these would be unable to install solar PV for technical reasons,” the report states.

    “Given the rate of connection to the reticulated gas grid of new homes in the major Australian cities, it is imperative that consumers understand the significant cost impact of choosing to establish a new home as dual fuel versus all-electric with solar.”

    The paper also found that existing policies and programs that subsidise or support the expansion of gas networks should be reviewed. In particular, it points out the questionable marketing of gas as cheaper and more efficient as electricity.

    “Rolling out new gas infrastructure is simply not efficient and is not in the long-term interests of residential households,” Lombard said.

    Furthermore, the continued promotion of reticulated gas to new Class 1 dwellings could lock most of those new home buyers into significantly higher energy costs for the medium to longer term.

    To read the ATA’s full report, click here.

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