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Solar power incentives slashed again

Post Time:Sep 05,2012Classify:Industry NewsView:346


China Glass NetworkTHE price paid to Victorian households for rooftop solar power they feed into the grid has been cut under a overhaul of incentives for small-scale renewables by the Baillieu government.


The changes will reduce the price paid for each grid-fed kilowatt-hour of solar power to 8¢ from next year, down from the existing rate of 25¢, following recommendations by the state's competition body.


The changes will affect new customers, with households now getting higher prices remaining on those rates. Households that have paid a deposit or have a solar system installed already can still get the 25¢ price if necessary paperwork is lodged with electricity suppliers by the end of this month.


Under the changes Victoria's renewable incentives have been broadened to include other smaller-scale renewable energy technologies generating under 100 kilowatts of electricity, such as micro-wind and fuel cells.


Launching the changes yesterday Energy Minister Michael O'Brien said the falling costs of solar panel systems and rising power prices meant households were taking up solar without the need for over-generous subsidies from other power users.


He said a previous incentive of 60¢ for each kilowatt-hour - scrapped by the Baillieu government last year - was costing Victorian households $41 million a year until 2024 through higher electricity bills to subsidise homes with solar panels.


''People in public housing, tenants who cannot access solar, are paying higher electricity bills in order to subsidise the rooftop solar for other people. That wasn't sustainable at those rates,'' Mr O'Brien said.


Under the new feed-in-tariff, the state government will set the price each year between 2013 and 2016 based on the wholesale electricity price. Then the price will be set by the market.


A Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission report released yesterday recommended a 6¢ to 8¢ price and said solar tariffs should become market-based as soon as possible to remain sustainable.


But renewable energy groups said the new price did not reflect savings rooftop solar generated in avoided network and other costs of delivering electricity to homes.


Damien Moyse, from the Alternative Technology Association, said: ''The evidence suggests that electricity generated by solar systems is worth more than the average price of electricity in the wholesale market.''


Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said it was appropriate the Victorian government reduced the level of its support scheme but ''the proposed feed-in tariff of 8¢ per kilowatt-hour is too low and does not reflect the fair and reasonable value of the electricity and other benefits that solar power systems provide''.


The state government also largely accepted recommendations to make connecting rooftop solar panels and other systems to the grid less complicated.


Source: http://theage.domain.com.auAuthor: shangyi

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