Solar feed-in tariff meets with mixed reviews


Melbourne, Australia — (METERING.COM) — May 13, 2008 – While government ministers are applauding the introduction of a solar feed-in tariff that they believe will encourage the use of alternative energy sources in the state, environmental bodies are not so sure

Brumby Government’s solar feed-in law a flop

Monday, May 5, 2008: Environment Victoria today expressed its extreme disappointment that the Brumby Government has failed to deliver the goods on its long-awaited solar feed-in tariff.

Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham said today:

“Environment groups, the solar industry and unions have been eagerly awaiting this announcement, hoping it would drive major investment in clean energy and greenhouse emissions reductions. However the Brumby Government has shunned the experience of 40 nations with feed-in tariffs and introduced a fake feed-in tariff that will make little difference to the payback times for a solar power system.”

“The Government has chosen not to value the full amount of clean energy produced by a solar system. Rather it will only pay the 60c tariff per kilowatt hour on the difference between what a household produces and what it consumes, meaning most households will receive absolutely no benefit. This is a tricky way of diluting the impact of the scheme which discriminates against solar homeowners who spend more time at home like retirees.”

“The scheme also excludes business from benefiting which is a great shame. Victoria’s shopping centres and warehouses could have been covered with solar panels as is happening in Germany had the Brumby Government delivered a real feed-in tariff.”

A Coalition of over 30 groups have supported a 60c feed-in tariff on the entire amount of clean energy generated. To have the same impact a net scheme would have had to pay over $2 per kilowatt hour.

“We think most Victorians would love to have solar power on their homes and businesses but it seems that the Brumby Government lacks the vision to introduce an effective scheme”.

“The Premier has also failed to back his rhetoric to place Victoria at the forefront of emerging ‘green’ economies.  Victoria is a leader in polluting industries like brown coal generation yet his Government has turned its back on the opportunity to create new green jobs.”

“Only Australian ALP governments have introduced this a ‘net version of the scheme with Victoria joining South Australia and Queensland in rejecting the international model. Fortunately the ACT Government is set to introduce the real thing later this week.”

Environment Victoria, along with other environment groups and the Electrical Trades Union will be protesting this poor decision on the steps of Parliament House on Thursday morning from 8.30 until 9.30 am.

Victorian households with solar power systems will be paid a premium rate for excess electricity that they feed into the state grid under a new scheme announced by the Brumby Government.

Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor said the new Feed-in Tariff Scheme was aimed at increasing the number of private households in Victoria generating renewable energy.

“Through the new premium Feed-in Tariff Scheme, households will be paid 60 cents for every unused kilowatt hour of power fed back into the state electricity grid, which is almost four times the current retail price for electricity and the highest feed-in tariff offered in Australia,” Mr Batchelor said.

“The system will encourage more households to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and encourage solar-powered households to be energy efficient and maximise the amount of power fed into the state’s electricity grid for other customers to use.”

Mr Batchelor said the premium feed-in tariff scheme would be introduced in 2009 and would run for 15 years.

The scheme would apply to all household systems of up to two kilowatts capacity and have a cap of 100MW of generating capacity.

“Currently less than 3000 Victorian households have solar panel systems installed and about half of those are connected to the state’s electricity grid,” Mr Batchelor said.

“This premium tariff means that the average Victorian household taking up the Federal Government’s solar panel rebate could pay off the cost of installation in less than 10 years.

“This new scheme delivers on a 2006 election promise and will ensure Victoria continues to lead Australia on renewable energy initiatives.”

Mr Peter Batchelor said the new scheme would be administered by the electricity distributors to keep costs down and to ensure that it did not interfere with retail competition.

“This scheme is part of a strategic approach by the Brumby Government to provide affordable, sustainable energy for Victoria’s future,” Mr Batchelor said.

“The premium net feed-in tariff scheme, coupled with the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) scheme, which will be introduced from January next year, will empower Victorian households to take action on climate change.