South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi, the “committed Conservative” and chief derider of all things renewable energy, has installed a whopping great big solar PV system at his family home in Adelaide – not to save money or lower emissions, of course, but to keep the lights on.
Reports surfaced on Wednesday, and RenewEconomy confirmed on Thursday, that the Senator – who thinks climate change is an elaborate leftist ruse, and who recently described clean tech entrepreneur Elon Musk as the purveyor of “giant uneconomic batteries” – has put 12kW of PV panels on his rooftop.
The system, which was sized to match the load of Bernardi’s large home and pool, was supplied and installed by local outfit Tindo Solar – Australia’s only solar panel manufacturer, which was recently bought by a local insulation company turned solar installer, as part of a plan to create the largest solar retailer in Australia.
So points go to Bernardi, there, for supporting home-grown industry.
But why solar? Because “the inept policies of federal and state governments left me with no choice,” Bernardi told the Australian Financial Review. “I can’t afford to have my power shut off for days at a time, but … I can afford to do something about it.”
Seems like common sense. But these comments, and Bernardi’s assurance that he hasn’t “drunk the renewable energy Kool-Aid,” suggest he only hopes to use solar as a “back-up” power source, if and when the grid goes down.
Let’s hope he has not forgotten the battery storage.
The reality is that the lights won’t stay on without battery storage, and in fact won’t stay on unless the battery storage has a special back-up component. Here’s Ronald Brakels on the subject:
“If you are lucky enough to own a grid-connected rooftop solar system, then there is an excellent chance you’re already aware that if the grid goes down you can’t get electricity from your solar panels.
“If you are not aware of this, then I’m sorry to have to break the bad news to you. Them solar panels, they ain’t gonna work in a blackout.”
So, is Bernardi going to install a battery, too? According to RenewEconomy’s sources, he is, but not until he has monitored his solar generation profile for a while, to work out what size storage system he should get. Very sensible. More points to Bernardi.
Whatever he opts for – and we will keep readers posted on that – let’s hope it performs at a standard higher than the Senator’s opinion of grid-scale battery storage.
“Musk’s numbers and promises (on battery storage for SA) don’t stack up but the SA and federal governments are already taking the bait,” Bernardi wrote in a blog titled “Beware of the Smooth Salesman,” in March.
“After years of peddling fanciful green dreams and endorsing windmills and solar panels as the answer to our growing energy needs, they are close to admitting defeat.
“SA Premier Weatherill yesterday commissioned a new gas power plant and ‘battery storage’. While the proposed power plant isn’t big enough, if it does run out of juice I calculate that Musk’s batteries will provide several minutes’ worth of power before needing a recharge!” he wrote.