Our vision is for homes to run pretty much autonomously and in the most efficient ways in terms of energy. We see a house that can run the heating and pool and air-conditioning but also be smarter for the good of the neighbourhood and the electricity grid, communicate with the grid on a hot day and deploy energy back to the grid when demand is up.
We’re not that far away. There’s already technology making decisions in the house. The thing that’s missing is it needs to become a bit more widespread, it needs to be a bit cheaper, and this is where we come in. It’s really a matter of adoption rather than technology.
There are a couple of undeniable things happening. Electricity prices will continue to go up for a number of reasons. But solar technology, like laptops and mobile phones, will just keep getting smaller and more efficient and cheaper. The other undeniable fact is that the Earth is getting warmer. Australia has a pretty unambitious renewable energy target so it’s just a question of time with increasing pressure and as people become aware that we need to do something.
There is documented distrust with energy retailers, but no one has taken the position of an independent, objective third party that can advise in this area when customers are faced with a whole lot of technologies and a whole bunch of providers. People want to know, is solar for me? How big? What type of equipment?
People wonder where the RACV fits in this area. We want to be the provider of good information, tools and advice from credible sources like the CSIRO and government.
We’ve really just started so what we’re doing now is building up credibility but also that knowledge base. We are planning to run seminars and provide website tools, and possibly down the track to install and maintain energy systems too.