Sub Heading

Category: Provision Newsletter Articles

Myth busting: the cost of setting up renewable energy in a home

Date: Oct 14th, 2019

Market research indicates the average Australian home has 17 connected devices; ‘smart’ devices in the internet of things that offer everything from efficiency to safety, convenience and entertainment.1  Renewable energy devices – behind the meter, on the roof and in your pocket – are the next frontier, offering real savings and the potential to power them all.

In 1981, you could buy a personal computer (PC) for about the same price as a used car. The next screen revolution – flat screen televisions – hit the market in the late 1990s to the tune of about $15,000 for a large model.

Prices dropped rapidly over the next decade as technology improved. Research shows the average Australian home now has 6.6 screens, including internet-capable televisions, tablets, smartphones and high definition televisions.2

So it goes that breakthrough technologies seem to be underestimated and overpriced at the outset, but costs decline rapidly as the technology improves and adoption becomes widespread.

The declining cost of renewable energy

Similar dynamics can be observed in renewable energy technology.

The climate crisis upon us and finite reserves of coal and gas capture a decade-long debate about how our electricity should be produced. In mainstream debates, renewable energy is increasingly being understood as a necessity, not a choice, to future-proof energy sources for homes and businesses.

For example, in 2017, onshore wind was named the world’s cheapest way to produce electricity. Its unsubsidised levelised cost of energy (LCOE) range of US$30-60 per megawatt hour (MWh) fell below the range of the cheapest fossil fuel, natural gas (US$42-78 per MWh). Solar was right behind as the world’s second-cheapest energy source, with the high end of its LCOE range (US$43–53/MWh) less than any other generation source. Globally, Australia has the lowest costs for solar-powered generation.3

If history repeats itself, this means that as energy companies transition their portfolios to hold greater proportions of renewable electricity generation, retail energy costs should decrease over time.

In the meantime, there are savings and gains to be made by investing in distributed energy resources (DER) that generate power directly for the home and reduce the amount of energy one needs to consume. Rooftop solar is the most common, with an investment case that’s more compelling than you might think.

Myth 1: Installing renewable energy in a home is a major expense

Rooftop solar, with or without a battery for storing your power, is one of the most commonly deployed DER solutions.

Australia’s Clean Energy Council estimates 1 in 5 rooftops have solar panels installed – including 2 million homes – with 6 panels installed each minute in 2018.

Recent market surveys indicate the average price across Australian capital cities for a 5kW system without battery storage is $5,100. A system of this size is generally suitable for a family of four and takes anywhere from two to seven years to pay for itself.4

As for batteries, market research suggests they are still relatively expensive, and the payback time will often be longer than the warranty period of the battery. The current cost is between $8,000 and $15,000 (installed), depending on capacity and brand.5  It’s worth checking what’s available in your area, as there are some government schemes that offer financial incentives. At a minimum, it’s worth making sure your system is ‘battery ready’ as battery costs are declining rapidly.

Myth 2: Long-term cost-savings aren’t that significant

According to Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton, homes with rooftop solar are saving on average about $540 per year on their electricity bills.

This represents a 25 percent saving on the average annual electricity bill of $2,088 for a four-person home.6

According to Choice, the price of a 5kW solar system has fallen by around 58 percent in the last six years – and the technology is getting cheaper.

Looking ahead

Distributed energy resources are set to play an increasing part in Australia’s energy system. These small-scale energy solutions are forecast to dramatically increase and deliver almost half of all electricity supplied by 2050.7

Current examples of DER include rooftop solar, batteries, microturbines, fuel cells, electric vehicles and ‘demand response’ applications that moderate consumption.

Solar is the most prevalent today and, while the technology is continually improving, it is already a compelling investment that is within the reach of many.

As technologies continue to improve, the choice and benefits for investor-owners in solar and other solutions should expand.

Source : AMP CAPITAL September 2019 

Australian IoT@Home Market Study, Telsyte, 2019
Australian Video Viewing Report, Nielsen, 2018
Global renewable energy trends, Deloitte Insights, 2018
How to buy the best solar panels for your home, Choice, 2019
How to buy the best solar battery storage, Choice, 2019
What is the average electricity bill?, Canstar Blue, 2019
The Distributed Energy Integration Program, Australian Renewable Energy Agency, 2019

Important notes: While every care has been taken in the preparation of this article, AMP Capital Investors Limited (ABN 59 001 777 591, AFSL 232497) and AMP Capital Funds Management Limited (ABN 15 159 557 721, AFSL 426455)  (AMP Capital) makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of any statement in it including, without limitation, any forecasts. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. This article has been prepared for the purpose of providing general information, without taking account of any particular investor’s objectives, financial situation or needs. An investor should, before making any investment decisions, consider the appropriateness of the information in this article, and seek professional advice, having regard to the investor’s objectives, financial situation and needs. This article is solely for the use of the party to whom it is provided and must not be provided to any other person or entity without the express written consent of AMP Capital.

10 handy tips for your first caravanning adventure

Date: Sep 11th, 2019

These tips are a good starting point to become acquainted with van life.

You’re going on your first caravanning trip? Excellent! It’s an exciting time of freedom, fun, and the thrill of a new experience. It’s also a big step…

Towing a caravan adds a whole new dimension to any holiday. Factors such as what to bring, time spent on the road, and where to park suddenly have much greater importance.

To help, we have a bunch of great tips for first-time caravan users to allow a smooth journey and an enjoyable holiday.

 

Caravanning can have many rewards. Location: BIG4 Rollingstone Beach Front Resort, QLD.

1. Make a checklist

You’ll need a comprehensive array of items when holidaying with a caravan. Obviously, a towing aid is required, but you need to select one that is right for your vehicle.

Other essential caravanning items include a fire extinguisher, wheel chocks, caravan jack, sway control device, towing mirrors, extra coolant and oil, a spare fan belt, and insulation tape.

As with any hobby, some items are essential for newbies, while others can be purchased over time for extra comfort and convenience.

 

2. Ensure your van is safe and secure

Once armed with the essentials, you’ll need to make sure your caravan (and vehicle) is safe to be on the open road. It’s best to write a checklist well before you depart and keep it within your caravan for easy referral.

Among necessary checks are that the towing aid is fitted correctly, drawers and other loose items are secure, and windows and doors are locked. Also, remove wheel chocks and the jockey wheel (or secure it), and raise the caravan’s steps. It is also essential that the lights of both your vehicle and caravan are operational and all tyres are inflated correctly.

 

Nail the routine of completing necessary checks and you’ll be cooking with gas in no time. Location: BIG4 Moruya Heads, NSW.

3. Take it easy

No doubt you’ve been stuck behind a slow-moving caravan. Now it’s your turn to irritate other motorists! Naturally, towing something the size of a bloated elephant takes getting used to – and you should take extra care anyway – yet there is another important consideration: fuel consumption.

Travelling at high speed drains your vehicle’s fuel as it is, let alone when you are towing a caravan. And it’s even more pronounced when driving into the wind.

If towing a caravan at a reduced speed, be mindful of traffic behind you, and use slow vehicle turnouts where possible.

When on the road, other important tips for caravanners include avoiding the desire to swerve if wildlife strays onto the road and being aware of side winds caused by large vehicles.

 

Slow down. There’s plenty of time to enjoy your stay. Location: BIG4 Caloundra Holiday Park, QLD.

4. Have an early start

Following on from the tip above, it pays to rise early and hit the road before the crowds join the party. This is especially so when towing a caravan for the first time, as you’ll feel much more confident driving in light traffic.

5. Be prepared for confined spaces

No matter the strength of your relationship, a caravanning trip can be a test for you and your partner. One of the top tips for caravanning is to be prepared for the fact that you will be travelling in confined surrounds. Give each other space, where allowable.

 

6. Work as a team

When it comes to tips for using a caravan for the first time, one of the biggest of all is how to reverse the darn thing. Practice makes perfect: put in training runs before facing an audience at your BIG4 park.

When at your site, choose the shortest path necessary for reversing (if you want to challenge yourself on holidays, bring along a Rubik’s cube). From here, parking a caravan requires you to work as a team.

Ensure you and your partner’s communication is sound and you can hear each other loud and clear. However, consider using hand signals – or even two-way radios – as it might be difficult to hear instructions over a loud engine. Use your mirrors, be patient, and don’t panic.

 

7. Have a set-up routine

If you’ve spent considerable time on the road, the last thing you’ll want to do is spend hours setting up your site. Once again, a practice run is worthwhile, as the process will become more efficient over time.

As each caravan differs, so too does the setting-up process. However, here’s a brief rundown: start by unhitching the caravan, putting on its handbrake, and clearing your vehicle away.

Once done, level the caravan, lower all four corner steadies until they are touching the ground, set up the gas and water systems, and connect the power. From here, head inside the caravan and check the power and water supplies: heating, taps, oven, fridge, etc.

 

It’s a great life once the caravan is set up. Location: BIG4 Beachlands Holiday Park, Busselton, WA.

8. Don’t take opinions as gospel

Having a rig makes you a target to cop advice of fellow caravanners, and there’s every chance you’ll be hit with more opinions than a talkback radio host. In no time, you’ll be informed about the best bakery, the cheapest beer, and alternative routes that are ‘so much quicker’.

We’re not suggesting that some advice isn’t useful, but if it gets too much, simply nod and smile.

 

9. Pack up properly

For this tip, it’s best to refer to point number three: follow your checklist. However, there will be additional factors to consider, such as turning off the gas, disconnecting electrics, and removing water and waste water supplies.

 

The more you practise your pack-up routine, the easier it will be. Location: BIG4 Phillip Island Caravan Park, VIC.

10. Take a course

If you’re serious about caravanning, you should do it properly. While they might seem excessive, the various ‘caravanning for beginners’ courses on offer will provide great theoretical and practical advice and boost your confidence. Alternatively, arrange for a caravan specialist to check your rig before you set off.

At the very least, have a trial run with your caravan before beginning an epic journey. It’s important to familiarise yourself with your new ‘home away from home’.

 

A trial run is advised before tackling the bigger, more challenging routes.

Source : BIG4 Holiday Parks

Reproduced with the permission of BIG4 Holiday Parks. This article first appeared on BIG4.com.au  and was republished with permission.

Important:
Any information provided by the author detailed above is separate and external to our business and our Licensee. Neither our business nor our Licensee takes any responsibility for any action or any service provided by the author.

Any links have been provided with permission for information purposes only and will take you to external websites, which are not connected to our company in any way. Note: Our company does not endorse and is not responsible for the accuracy of the contents/information contained within the linked site(s) accessible from this page. 

How to procrastinate: nine tips from a pro

Date: Sep 11th, 2019

Having studied my own habits – in between randomly browsing infographics, social media and videos of classic newsreader bloopers – I’ve compiled a set of sure-fire principles on how to get less done in more time.

1. Hit the inbox first thing every morning, definitely

Unquestionably, an hour attending to random promotions, LinkedIn requests and Facebook photo alerts will be more important than anything else on your to-do list. Treat your inbox like your boss – it knows exactly what’s important for you to do all day and every day.

2. Answer the phone, always

It doesn’t matter who you are with or what you are doing, never forget that the sound of your ring tone supersedes ALL else in terms of priority – treat it like a fire alarm.

3. Relax, you’ll have a clear day tomorrow

Despite the fact that this has never ever happened before, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll definitely have an empty mind and clear schedule tomorrow, so you can put off tackling that important proposal until then.

“Treat your inbox like your boss – it knows exactly what’s important for you to do all day and every day.”

4. Respond to everything immediately

Make sure that other people’s priorities become your own. Constantly reacting to ‘urgent’ yet ‘unimportant’ tasks is how visionary people achieve great things. Pretty sure it’s how the Pyramids were built for example.

5. It’s got to be 100% perfect

Firstly, don’t start anything until you have absolutely everything you need. Secondly, understand that you can never do too much tinkering around the edges. It’s not done unless it’s a masterpiece.

6. Never miss a news story

It is proven by business owners globally that it is crucial to read all breaking news, viral stories, industry insider blogs and photo galleries with titillating headlines. That old 2009 political gossip will come in handy one day. Tip: set your local news site as your browser home page.

7. If in doubt, set up a meeting or conference call

8. Final checklist of things to do before starting any project:

  • Make a fresh cup of tea

  • Check the inbox

  • Get the clothes off the line

  • Clear the desk of clutter

  • Get the mince out of the freezer

  • Check the phone for texts

  • Get the bins out

  • Quickly see if there’s any action on Facebook

  • Did you check your email?

9. Multitask

Now you’re ready to start. All that’s left to do is write 15 things on today’s list and get cracking on all of them at the same time. Write a blog while returning a call, research a new supplier while doing the books – don’t forget the inbox.

Damn! Time for school pick up – gotta run! Let’s tee up a call or coffee in a week or so.

Source : Flying Solo

This article by Peter Crocker is reproduced with the permission of Flying Solo – Australia’s micro business community. Find out more and join over 100K others.

 

Important:
This provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Any information provided by the author detailed above is separate and external to our business and our Licensee. Any information provided by the author detailed above is separate and external to our business and our Licensee. Neither our business, nor our Licensee take any responsibility for any action or any service provided by the author.

Any links have been provided with permission for information purposes only and will take you to external websites, which are not connected to our company in any way. Note: Our company does not endorse and is not responsible for the accuracy of the contents/information contained within the linked site(s) accessible from this page.

10 monthly tasks for good business health

Date: Sep 11th, 2019

Time flies when you’re running your own business. Days can quickly turn into weeks as you focus on the day-to-day work. And sometimes you can work so hard it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Our monthly checklist will ensure you keep your business on track.

This monthly checklist will help you assess the health of your business and stay in control.

1. Step back and do a financial overview

Your business won’t survive unless you have a tight grip on your finances. Make sure you carefully manage:

  • expenses and bills – pay quickly to ensure goodwill

  • invoices – chase all late payers

  • payroll – ensure all staff records are up to date

  • taxes – file your returns and pay on time, every time.

2. Review account statements from suppliers

Are your suppliers charging a price that’s fair? Are you still getting good value for money? If not, it might be time to look for new suppliers.

3. Review annual sales

Look at your year-on-year sales. Are you doing better than the same time last year? Are costs and profit levels where they should be? Refer to your business plan and make changes if necessary.

4. Keep a close eye on stock

If you’re running a retail or manufacturing business then stock is your lifeblood. You should:

  • carefully match stock levels to sales forecasts

  • make special provision for perishable goods

  • ensure storage is safe and secure

  • work with your accountant or bookkeeper to find the optimum stock levels.

5. Make sure your customers remember you

In a crowded marketplace, customers are likely to forget your service or product, so help them remember:

  • Use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or MAS (Marketing Automation System) tool. This will help keep your customers and partners up to date with news about your business.

  • Use all available communication methods. For example, email newsletters are a highly effective way of keeping in touch with customers – as long as they’re well written.

6. Spread the word about your business on social media

Social media can be a very effective marketing channel if you use it regularly. Make sure your blog always has fresh content, send new tweets and post on Facebook and LinkedIn.

7. Review your website traffic

Google Analytics is a tool that makes it easier to understand your website traffic. It will identify pages that are performing poorly and pages that are doing well. Ask a web developer to help you if necessary.

8. Keep on top of industry news

Set aside two hours a month to review industry news. Sign up for Google Alerts and set an alert so that the news comes to your inbox. If you are a consultant in the medical industry, you could set one up for ‘medical trends’ or ‘new technologies in medicine’.

9. Keep your data safe

Use cloud-based applications to store data and ensure your information is always available and automatically backed up. Relying on your hard drive leaves you vulnerable in the face of burglary, fire or natural disasters. If you use your hard drive to store data, make sure you do at least one monthly backup online or to an external device.

10. Talk to your advisors

Arrange meetings with your accountant or bookkeeper, board of directors and investors. Meet them at the office or a cafe for a half-hour chat over coffee. Review business performance for the last 30 days and last quarter to check you’re on track.

Please contact us on |PHONE| if you seek further assistance on this topic.

Successful business owners have great habits

Set yourself up for success and get into the habit of setting aside time for monthly tasks. Business can move at a rapid pace, especially in the first year. So make this checklist a priority to ensure your business is going in the right direction. This will keep things on track and in control – which can make all the difference.

Source: Xero

Reproduced with the permission of Xero.

Xero is software designed to make life better for small businesses and their advisors. Its online accounting platform provides the foundation on which businesses can build a complete business solution. It connects businesses with their bank, accounting tools, their accountant, payment services and third-party apps, so everything is securely available at any time, on any device.

Important:
This provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account.  It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Any information provided by the author detailed above is separate and external to our business and our Licensee. Neither our business nor our Licensee takes any responsibility for any action or any service provided by the author.

Any links have been provided with permission for information purposes only and will take you to external websites, which are not connected to our company in any way. Note: Our company does not endorse and is not responsible for the accuracy of the contents/information contained within the linked site(s) accessible from this page.

Provision Insights

Subscribe to our Quarterly e-newsletter and receive information, news and tips to help you secure your harvest.

Newsletter Powered By : XYZScripts.com