Living off the grid: What price would you pay to never receive an electricity bill again? 90



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Power bill shocks are nothing new – we often receive a bill after being especially frugal and still get an enormous surprise. But what if we could pay $5,000-10,000 and be done with power bills forever?

According to research by investment bank Morgan Stanley, half of Australian households have a strong interest in household solar and batteries, and to effectively live off the grid.

The survey found that 50 per cent of us are willing to part with $10,000 if it means we can generate our own electricity and store it. Morgan Stanley believes from their research that the home battery storage market is liable to be worth $24 billion.

But there’s an even cheaper way, and it’s called the Powerwall.

For the uninitiated, the Tesla Powerwall is a lithium-ion battery that is expected to sell in Australia in 2016 for $5,500.

This will completely shake up the electricity industry as we know it. According to US billionaire Elon Musk, a co-founder of PayPal and the Tesla electric car, “You can actually go, if you want, completely off-grid.

“You can take your solar panels, charge the battery packs and that’s all you use”.

So how do they work? The Powerwalls come with solar photo-voltaic panels that enable consumers to have power over their own, well, power.

This is the biggest change in the electricity industry in more than a century, says Renew Economy editor Giles Parkinson.

“It will happen quicker in Australia than it will happen anywhere else in the world because of the high retail prices,” he told 7.30.

“We pay so much just to boil a kettle in the city and now we have a cheaper way of doing it.

“It’s going to be about as big a change as we’ve seen in the telecommunications industry with mobile phones”.

So now, some of our country’s power companies are scrambling to get it together before Powerwall becomes the new normal. The ABC reports AGL has just announced it will market its own battery in the coming weeks, which is good news considering that AGL are Australia’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases — has just announced it will begin marketing its own battery package within weeks.

It is predicted that energy companies will begin to offer customers package bundles, similar to mobile phone contracts.


It’s a time of great change, but would you be willing to effectively go off the grid?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I guess you have to spend money these days to save money. We don’t own a house, so will never have to make this decision.

  2. Yes, I would pay that to never have another power bill and a great feature if you are selling a house too, self sustainable power costs. It was time this happened, we can’t hold the tide of need in this industry back. It will generate many jobs and is the best thing to happen to people in this country. All houses should have it. But I wonder about those like the above commenter, who rents and won’t be able to do this. With more households off grid, what happens to the price for those still on it?

    2 REPLY
    • Sounds wonderful till you get a quote, All depends on how much you USE and where you live, I live in a leafy green suburb , by choice so no use to me, NO Sun

    • Dawn Bruce, I live in the hills area in Perth WA…it is very green here with lots of trees and our power bill is an eighth in winter, ie $100 not $800 and in summer down to $20…you might be surprised, yes it is expensive but you get your money back in 3-5 years…

  3. We paid big bucks for good quality solar. We don’t get a lot back but save on power. Dearest thing is visit to read it $118.00 what a rip off. Wasn’t this price in Qld when we lived there. Nsw living.

  4. We don’t and love it. Now if solar companies who ring up to ten times a day, the same ones of course would just stop ringing. Life would be cruisey

  5. I am working towards being off-grid. Now you can see why various State and the Federal Governments are anxious to sell various bits and pieces of the power network as early as possible . . They are claiming privatisation of power will not lead to increased costs to the consumer . . Really!? . . Bullshit . . Soon those power networks will be worth bugger all and anyone connected to the grid will be paying huge amounts for their power . .

  6. It’s finding the money for the initial cost that is hard. I am very frugal with power usage so my bills are usually around $250 -$300 per quarter. So to get that pack would take me 6 years to pay off. And we all know what happens when these things are introduced in Australia
    The government takes it’s cut, the suppliers get their cut, the installers get their cut, and by the time it arrives at your house it has doubled in price.

    1 REPLY
    • Yes, the up-front cost for decent quality panels is the real hardship! This is where a forward thinking government would be focusing, on the new ‘green’ industry!

  7. We have had solar on the roof for quite a few years and it is great I never get a power bill just credits but would consider the battery option if it was worth it

  8. Yes have already installed solar panels but of grid would be my ultimate goal as long as the batteries are long life as replacement cost must be factored into your start up costs

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