By Georg Dreher
Larry Hagman, American film and TV icon, known from playing the legendary J.R. Ewing in the 80’s primetime soap opera ‘Dallas’, spent four full days in Perth, West Australia, spreading the word about solar energy and attending the ‘Supanova Pop Culture Expo’.
On his last day before flying back to Los Angeles, Larry Hagman, Solarmatrix and the Sustainable Energy Association (SEA) went on a tour through Perth to promote clean and renewable energy from the sun.
Larry Hagman’s Commitment to the Environment
Larry Hagman, coming from the background of big oil in his role as J.R. has long recognized that solar is the energy of the 21st century. Owning a 90 kW solar power system including SolarWorld 240 Watt panels which he believes to be the largest domestic rooftop solar power system in the U.S.A., he is reaping the benefits of producing clean energy and made a considerable contribution to the environment. Since 2010, Hagman has acted as the spokesperson of the German premium solar manufacturer SolarWorld. In 2009, the local Western Australian company Solarmatrix was the first business to introduce SolarWorld panels to the Australian market and has since established its position as the largest SolarWorld supplier in Australia.
Visiting a Typical Australian Solar Power Installation
Larry Hagman, Solarmatrix and the SEA went to visit a typical Australian installation with SolarWorld Sunmodule Plus 230 Watt panels in Rockingham, just 30 minutes south of Perth. The proud owner of the 5 kW residential solar power system Beryl Beckwith had the chance to sit down and speak face to face with the TV legend, Hagman. Both are just amazed how easy and affordable it is to generate clean electricity with a reliable and high performing solar system. SolarWorld modules are among the best in the world and have proven their performance over several years by dominating the independent rankings conducted by Photon magazine.
Larry Hagman successfully changed the rules of the game and explains, “Electricity prices have been rising constantly over the past years, why should I pay my electricity retailer if I can generate my own electricity and get paid for it?” So now instead of paying US$40,000 per year in electricity bills, he manages to receive a yearly refund from his electricity retailer. The same applies on a smaller scale for Beckwith who enjoys the cheques coming in from Synergy for the surplus electricity she automatically exports back into the grid. Beckwith tells Larry Hagman, “Solar power has been a fantastic investment for the environment as well as for my pocket.”
Thanks to the premium Feed-in Tariff of a total of 47 cents, homeowners in WA can rely on stable payments from Synergy. From July 1st 2011 onwards, the Feed-in Tariff in Western Australia was reduced to a total of 27 cents for new residential solar power systems.
The Australian Climate Change and Renewable Energy Policy
Solarmatrix is proud to be the chosen supplier of highest quality solar power systems in Australia. To reach Australia’s goal in cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 5-25% in 2020 compared to year 2000 levels, Solarmatrix believes it is necessary to introduce a stable nationwide feed-in tariff for renewable energy systems that also allows commercial installations to participate in the scheme. So far, the existing feed-in tariff has only been available for the residential market thus making larger commercial installations extremely complex to realize. Furthermore, each state in Australia offers its own feed-in tariff, rules, limitations and policies, making the renewable energy landscape difficult and complicated to comprehend. Frequent cuts and changes to the feed-in tariff have also contributed to a widespread distrust in the schemes and policies in place.
The Good News
Rapid decline of module prices makes solar PV installations more and more competitive and even today solar power is a much cheaper option than diesel generators in remote areas of Australia. Thereforew, Solarmatrix has partnered up with Horizon Power to improve the power supply in remote aboriginal communities and is currently planning to install two projects with a total of 150 kW this year. The project is designed to improve the quality, safety, affordability and reliability of power supplies in aboriginal communities considerably.
Georg Dreher, Marketing Manager at Solarmatrix (www.solarmatrix.com.au), studied Electronic Engineering for two years at the University of Karlsruhe and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the ESB Business School in February 2010. Since then, he’s following his passion for renewable energies in his career in the solar industry.
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