Feed in Tariff in Victoria

The Australian states are working hard to compete against each other to come up with more restrictive solar options.

The South Australia government came up with a “net metering feed-in-tariff” which does not provide much incentive compared to a gross metering system.

Now, it is the turn of the Victorian government. Peter Campbell writes about the reasons why this legislation does not make sense. And below, a rally against the tariff.

After visiting the Bali convention on climate change and using their generous travel allowances to see how a good feed in tariff can promote emission reductions and jobs from solar power in countries like Germany, our Victorian Government has delivered a feed in tariff that is crippled and worthless.

My concerns are:

1. The Feed in Tariff is only paid on net metering.

The total electricity generated by panels should be subject to the tariff, as all the clean electricity generated has zero emissions which directly substitutes for coal-fired power and therefore reduces emissions accordingly.

In Germany and other locations where they pay the tariff on gross metering, there has been a dramatic rise in installation of solar power. Germany now has 400 times the solar output of Australia despite having about half our sunshine.

2. The Feed in Tariff has a maximum ceiling of 2kW

This is nonsense. The more solar zero emissions power we generate as a nation the better. This is a critical measure for reducing our emissions to combat climate change. The 2kW array size limit for getting the Feed in Tariff is simply crippling the financial motivation for people to install solar panels, and crippling their payback if they choose to install a bigger array.

3. No certainty for investment is provided

The complexities and restrictions of your feed in tariff resulting from net metering combined with the 2kW ceiling provide no certainty or guarantee for investment in a solar array, unlike gross metering with no ceiling which does. This is evident in countries like Germany where there has been significant investment in solar power – now the equivalent of two coal fired power stations, but with zero emissions.

The Victoria government has stipulated the price at 60c per KwH higher than South Australia’s 44c per KwH.

Peter provides an alternative solution.

I strongly urge the government to modify the tariff to a proven effective and equitable model , which is:

* 60 cents per kWh
* paid for at least 15 years
* paid on the entire output of a system via gross production metering
* no caps on array size and/or outputs.

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