6 reasons why smaller solar is not better

Getting value for your solar is not just about payback but also economies of scale, shifting loads and future proofing – that's why big is beautiful.


I was surprised to hear the Alternative Technology Association suggesting going for smaller solar systems is better (Solar payback: Smaller is better, September 24). Such a position would lead to less overall solar capacity being deployed across the nation. I struggle to see how this would be in-line with their core mission which is to advocate.

...for easy access to green technologies as well as continual improvement of the technology, information and products needed to change the way we live.

How does rewinding the clock three years and suggesting that everyone installs 1500-2500 watt solar systems fit in with pushing along technology innovation and bringing forward new product developments?

Does the ATA believe that every solar panel we install makes the next one cheaper? As that has been the trend now for 30 years, how can an organisation with a mission for "Easy access" and "continual improvement" discourage more private investment in solar?

Here’s six reasons why smaller for solar is not better:

1) System payback is not the only thing that’s important

The ATA's mission is not for a neoliberal take-no prisoner approach for householder economic return on investment. Instead they are supposed to be helping to create a better future facilitated by renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. 

Most of the audience reading ATA's recommendation for smaller PV systems would be fairly affluent and have spare disposable income that they will choose to prioritise based on advice they receive from trusted sources. The ATA is not being a good shepherd here.

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