WWATA? or What’s With All The Acronyms?
For those of you who don’t know too much about the solar power industry or the renewable energy industry more generally, I’ve taken time out my busy schedule to offer a simple explanation about how it all works. You can thank me later.
Under the LNP, despite pressure from the G20, a reduced RET is now in place for 2020 although the LNP has rebranded these moves forward as NEG. Although the AEMR is dragging its feet, AEMO seems to be up to speed and the NEM is in fact evolving under the auspices of the AER. ARENA funding is still available as is money from the CFC but the business as usual government rebates are still in place until 2030 in the form of STC’s and if larger than 100kW, LGC’s. AS we see more BESS entering the market, especially large BESS, the whole FCAS framework needs re-addressing but on the other hand, the uptake of residential BESS provides new opportunities in the emerging DeX. If DeX works and BESS becomes ubiquitous, FIT’s may be thing of the past.
You know, this has always intrigued me ever since I pulled on my first pair on solar system sales boots all those years ago. Why is solar power so bloody complicated? Why is it so hard to explain how the panels work? Why do I need 45 minutes with both wife and hubby – wife for the money bit, husband for the you know, technical stuff, or in most cases, what all the acronyms mean. The industry has become top heavy with pointless little CAPITALS to represent certain features of the hardware being bought or the grid in which everything operates. Ok, I accept it’s ok to use LOL and LMAO and stuff when using your phone and everybody does, but that’s because everybody has and needs a phone and LOL is simply part of the mobile landscape. We greenies want just as many people to embrace renewable energy as they do phone plans but the reality is, ultimately, solar isn’t sexy. Practical, yes. Vital, inevitably but not sexy. People just want their phone charged- they don’t care how it got charged. Same with turning on a light or (ominous drumroll) the air-con.
Recently, I spent a day or so developing a glossary for the Powervault sales presentation folders. Example: Array: Another word for the layout of solar panels. We had all concluded the language was holding back Mr and Mrs. Average from investing in solar power and decided to do something about it. Sure, one can go online and find meaning for everything the solar sales guy said after he’s gone, but why can’t solar sales guy just use plain English, or at least words that make sense to the customer who, let’s face it, just wants to get some solar, has the money and is prepared to bite the bullet and preferably not have to think about this purchase again.
It seems to me the original acronym -KISS or Keep It Simple Stupid has been replaced with a type of smart-artist industry speak that is great when we are all on energy conference junkets in Vegas, but pointless when it comes to helping our customers make decisions about their own energy future. I appreciate how quickly the general public has in fact learned a lot about solar power in the last couple of years, a necessary defence against the sharks and cowboys still permeating the industry but let’s just chillax a bit with the rhetoric, yeah?
I had to laugh when a newbie sales person started with us and I launched into an Overview of Australian Energy Markets and Solar’s Impact on Said Markets. She’d come from the real estate industry and no doubt had her own language amongst her peers (but not the buying public). “Is this how you guys talk, like, all the time?” And, yeah, it is. That’s when the penny dropped. After that meeting, I decided to have the sales staff KISS, but have the tech answers should the questions be asked. The underlying motivation for this is 1. Get more sales but 2. Respect the customer and the ‘solar journey’ they are undertaking. It’s their money, it’s their future, it’s their decision. The last thing they need is to learn another language in the process.
BTW (By The Way), FCAS stands for Frequency Control Ancillary Services and is RC (Ridiculously Complicated).