AN article from CSIRO's ECOS magazine suggests off-grid power generation systems could be commonplace in Australia by the late 2030s.
The article by Michele Sabto draws on analysis from the 2013 CSIRO Future Grid Forum where industry players projected that under business-as-usual conditions, disconnection from the commercial electricity grids (or grid defection) would become an option for mainstream consumers.
Global investment bank UBS, on the other hand, reported in 2013 that falling solar and battery storage costs could make it cost-competitive to go off-grid as soon as 2018.
Mass disconnection would have major implications for energy suppliers, as maintenance costs outstrip revenue from a declining customer base.
But on the electronics side, solar photovoltaic technology and energy storage technology are the two key drivers which will encourage consumers to go off-grid.
For example, CSIRO's UltraBattery technology, which is an adapted standard lead battery, would play a role not just in storing electricity generated by photovoltaics during the day, but also help regulate the frequency and "smooth out" renewable energy.
This could help iron out some of the shorter term problems that utilities have with roof-mounted photovoltaics, for example, dumping power back into the grid.
Already, the UltraBattery is set to play a big part in the King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project, which once complete, will see solar, wind and biodiesel supply up to 65% of the island's energy needs, reducing the region's dependence on diesel.