2 Go broadcaster Ben Fordham says solar panels have environmental issues

One of Australia’s most prominent radio hosts has reignited the debate over solar panels, saying the “clean, green source of energy” poses environmental concerns.

Sydney Radio 2GB host Ben Fordham has raised questions about the panels’ ‘shaky’ and ‘flawed’ business case after being inundated with complaints from listeners now doubting a push to make the switch.

Solar power is expected to account for 50% of Australia’s power capacity by 2030, which NSW Treasurer Matt Kean called “critical to the modernization of our electricity system”.

But Fordham says authorities can’t hide the fact that many question marks remain on the signs, even though half a million NSW homes have installed them alone, including himself.

A big question mark remains over the cost and environmental effectiveness of solar panels, according to a broadcaster (pictured, panels being installed)

It costs Australians on average $10,000 for the panels in addition to $16,000 for the battery to get the most out of the system, the host said.

“People have been installing solar panels in hopes of saving money in the long run,” he said.

“But more and more experts are pointing out that ‘savings day’ is getting pushed back further and further.”

“Auditors have commented to us that after making the switch, they don’t really save any money.

“It looks like people are starting to have buyer’s remorse.”

A woman told Fordham that her household was now paying $80 more than a quarter before switching to solar power two years ago because they reimbursed the cost of the panels.

Fordham cited research by leading consumer groups to back up his claims.

The Canstar Blue review website says there is no black and white answer as to whether solar batteries are worth the investment as it depends on individual circumstances.

“Despite the savings on ongoing utility bills, the unit is unlikely to pay for itself…until the battery warranty expires,” the site says.

Choice Magazine says the results of a years-long Australian trial of solar storage batteries were not encouraging.

At least half a million NSW homes have solar panels, according to the state government.  Pictured is a new home with solar panels in Sydney's North West

At least half a million NSW homes have solar panels, according to the state government. Pictured is a new home with solar panels in Sydney’s North West

Ben Fordham (pictured with wife Jodie Speers) has described the business case for solar panels as flimsy and flawed, despite having them installed in his home

Ben Fordham (pictured with wife Jodie Speers) has described the business case for solar panels as flimsy and flawed, despite having them installed in his home

Economist Judith Sloan warned this week that a government push towards renewables will not bring electricity prices down anytime soon.

“On sunny, windy days, the price can be low, sometimes negative, during the day, but the price shoots up at night when the sun goes down and the wind drops often,” she wrote in The Australian. .

“At this point, renewable energy is not useful and only reliable or firming generation can be used to meet demand.”

Fordham stressed that environmental factors are also a big concern as Australia prepares for another chaotic La Nina system.

He added that the vast majority of solar panels in the world are made in China, which will increase to 95% in the next decade.

Many households have had solar panels installed in hopes of saving money in the long run, but have seen their electricity bills soar

Many households have had solar panels installed in hopes of saving money in the long run, but have seen their electricity bills soar

“So even though Australia has been a key player in inventing solar technology…we’re counting on China,” Fordham said.

‘So you have waste. By 2025, NSW will generate up to 10,000 tonnes of waste a year – from solar panels and batteries. By 2035, this could reach 70,000 tons per year.

Fordham ended the segment by admitting that solar power could be a big part of Australia’s future.

“But right now the industry is suffering from a branding problem,” he said.

‘The sun doesn’t shine…as much as we used to.

“People aren’t saving money…as much as they expected.

“And the so-called ‘clean and green energy source’ has its own environmental issues!”

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