Years ago, Australia introduced a lavish system of subsidies for installing rooftop solar panels on households and forwarding any surplus power toward the power grid. This strategy has dwindled or disappeared in most places in Australia.
In the state of Victoria, Australia, the Energy and Resources Minister Michael O’Brien has decided to cut subsidies for solar feed-in energy from 25c/kWh (cents per kilowatt hour) to a mere 8c/kWh, a sizeable decline and a figure that sharply contrasts the original tariff of 60c/kWh.
Known as the NSW solar bonus scheme, this practice of rewarding solar panel customers for transferring excess generated energy to the public power grid has pretty much reached its end. An analysis by The Australian shows a clear national trend towards diminishing feed-in tariffs.
In Western Australia, there is no longer even a tariff and in Queensland the reward rate is also down to 8c/kWh (from 44 c/kWh) and will be zero as of July 2014. Commenting on these and other changes, Russell Marsh, Clean Energy Council Policy Director, said the nation’s solar industry expects to experience losses as a result of O’Brien’s decision.
This is not to suggest that the national and state governments no longer stand behind solar power. However, this policy change and other similar ones gesture to a trend where the once productive strategy of rewarding citizens for installing residential solar power systems has lost its value. Private solar energy systems have become so widespread and successful that it if the government were to continue paying out such high tariffs, it would end up costing general taxpayers millions.
Michael O’Brien’s argument ran that with the current system of variable tariffs, all energy users were “propping up” those solar consumers who had signed up for the best deals with their providers. The intent is now to wean away from the tariff rewards system.
The NSW solar bonus program was part of what made residential solar units so popular in Australia for some time. It’s why Australians installed more household rooftop solar panels than anyone else in the world last year. Even though they won’t be reaping the same subsidies, it’s expected that people will remain committed to the cause of renewable energy resources like solar energy.
The federal emphasis is shifting towards developing more large-scale solar fields for commercial properties or businesses that would also connect and feed-in to the power grid. There is also growing interest in wind turbine technology. However, citizens are still encouraged to install and utilize private solar units as much as possible, particularly if they still live in a state which offers a feed-in tariff (even a deflated one).
Do My Solar Pty Ltd is among the leaders in Australian suppliers of household solar power systems. They serve areas all areas throughout New South Wales and northern Victoria. Do My Solar’s products and recommended installers are always accredited by the Clean Energy Council and held to a high standard of performance and value. Even with the changes in solar subsidy policies, this business has continued to succeed as a result of their commitment to excellent service and superior products.