Solar roofing technology rises in Western Australia

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Households, businesses, and commercial developments across Western Australia are installing solar panels at a record rate, with installations up 33% last year. Rising power prices and the falling cost of renewable energy technology are driving the surge, according to SunWiz, a solar industry consultancy.

Ten of Australia’s top 20 solar-adapting suburbs are located in WA, with Wanneroo, Mandurah, and Armadale leading the way.

Warwick Johnston, managing director at SunWiz, said two factors were driving the adoption of solar panels in the state.

“We’re seeing solar prices have come down to levels they’ve never been before — prices in Perth are at their lowest compared to the eastern states — and we’re also seeing the electricity price rises really kicking in in Western Australia,” he said. “In Perth, electricity prices [have] started climbing again and [are] expected to do so for a number of years, so I think that’s in people’s minds, in people’s consciousness when they’re thinking about solar power.”

Major commercial developments in the state are also harnessing the power of solar systems. WA-based solar energy company Perdaman Advanced Energy recently launched the state’s largest commercial solar installation, with other new projects to follow.

The new solar car park at Northam Boulevard Shopping Centre is more than twice as big as the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), which to date held the title of largest solar installation in Western Australia.

“This launch is a huge achievement for us,” said Dominic Da Cruz, managing director of Perdaman Advanced Energy. “The installation will generate over one million kilowatt hours a year, which equates to 40% of the shopping centre’s annual electricity requirements. Not only will the installation on the car port generate electricity for the shopping centre, but it will also provide much-needed car park shade for customers.  We’re maximising on what nature has to offer.”

Tesla’s new Solar Roof promises to bring down energy costs 

Another major breakthrough in solar roofing technology is set to enter the Australian market. Tesla’s new Solar Roof, the company’s solar energy capturing roof tiles, are cheaper than expected and come with an infinite tile warranty. This warranty guarantees the tiles will last for “the lifetime of [the] house, or infinity, whichever comes first.”

Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, unveiled the tiles in October, but recently announced on Twitter that his company would be taking orders and was starting production on two of the four tile designs.

“The typical homeowner can expect to pay [$29.70] per square foot for Solar Roof, and benefit from a beautiful new roof that also increases the value of their home,” Tesla said in a blog post.

If you have a roof with 100 square metres, outfitting your roof with Tesla’s tiles would cost about $32,000, plus the cost of a battery backup system.

Tesla is offering both “active” and “non-active” tiles. Musk expects that most people will opt for about 40% active tiles, which will provide enough power for a typical household.

The new roofing system can help owner-occupiers and residential property investors cut down on energy costs, and should significantly increase the value of their properties.

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