Electrifying our lives with Professor Renate Egan

Working on solar since the 1990s, Professor Egan has helped to transform the way we consume energy, recently taking up the challenge to “electrify everything”.

Joining us on Rewired, Professor Egan explains the role she has played making solar a common and affordable technology and looking ahead to future opportunities.

“When I started, the price for solar modules was like $12 to $15 a watt. And now we’re seeing it at 20 cents a watt…”

Professor Egan is living her vision: investing in a small solar system in 2008 that she has since expanded and backed up with battery storage; switching to an electric vehicle; and she has plans to replace her gas cooktop and water heater.

“In four months, we’ve put 4000 kilometres on the car. And I haven’t been to a petrol station once.”

In 2013, Professor Egan co-founded Solar Analytics, which provides monitoring information to help solar households understand their energy generation and usage.

The platform is helping households to capture the most value from the energy generated on their rooftops and help to integrate newer technologies like home batteries and EVs.

“Solar is now so cheap, that if you can put it on your roof, you’re mad if you don’t.”

This is part of a mission to improve the customer experience, which she says in the past has been technical and confusing.

Solar panels on roof of Australian home
Solar panels on roof of Australian home.

While Australians are installing solar at world-leading rates, she is optimistic there are opportunities for massive growth.

“We need to change the way we deliver the technology to make sure that we can grow another tenfold, because we need to see another tenfold growth.”

Acknowledging that the industry is navigating some challenges associated with the dramatic growth of solar, Professor Egan explains we have a toolkit to manage the issues. We just need to communicate more widely the benefits.

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