ACT feed-in tariff hits 15MW cap, scheme closed

The ACT government has announced that the micro-generator ACT feed-in tariff (45.7c/kWh) scheme has reached or exceeded its 15MW cap and is closed to new applications as of midnight 31 May 2011. This development does not come as a surprise; the FiT scheme has been in effect since March 2009. According to a media release from Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Simon Corbell, stated, “The [ACT Feed-in Tariff] scheme has delivered all and more than was expected of it with unprecedented numbers of applications over the last few months”, attributable in part to the upcoming federal solar power incentive reduction.

–UPDATE 24 August 2011: The ACT feed-in tariff scheme has concluded, but a 1:1 net feed-in tariff (where you are paid the retail electricity rate for electricity you feed into the grid) is still on offer for solar customers. For up-to-date info, please see our solar feed-in tariff rewards page.–

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Corbell continued, “The closure of the Micro category does not spell the end of the feed-in tariff. Consistent with its long held policy position, the government sees the future of renewable generation in the ACT as being at a larger scale.”

The ACT government promises to protect those who have ‘proceeded in good faith and have already committed to an installation’. “Any householders or businesses who have entered into a contract for a solar installation and had paid a deposit before midnight last night [31 May 2011] can still be accepted into the scheme.”

The same transitional arrangements recently enacted by the Commonwealth to federal incentive programs will be followed by the ACT, according to Corbell. Specifically, a customer can still access the closed scheme if that person:

  • entered into a valid contract before the program termination date/time;
  • can produce evidence that a monetary deposit had been paid to the contracted supplier prior to the termination date/time; and
  • can provide a Statutory Declaration to this effect.

It is expected that once all outstanding applications are processed that more than 6,000 ACT homes will be approved for the FiT. Additionally, those who do not make the cut-off date for the 45.27/kWh FiT will still be eligible for a net feed-in scheme (“Solar buyback”), which offers significant opportunity to save money on electricity, or, in the case of being a net-exporter of electricity over the billing period, to make a profit on the sale of excess electricity.

As we wrote previously in the Solar Choice blog, the ACT solar feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme is divided into three broad categories:

-micro-generator (cap: 15MW, for systems 30kW or smaller),

-medium (cap: 15MW, for systems between 30 and 200kW), and

-large (cap: 210MW with first allocation of 40MW to begin accepting applications in August 2011, for systems larger than 200kW).

The medium and large categories are still largely uncommitted, according to the press release. The ACT’s approach to solar power promotion differs from those of the the other states and territories in that the Territory government’s policy position is that the real future of solar power is in larger systems, as opposed to in the promotion of individual roof-top systems. Those still interested in installing a solar power system for the financial benefits of a feed-in tariff may wish to become part of a solar community or become a partner in a collectively-owned, medium-scale generator.

The cap for the large-scale category will most likely be allocated to commercial-scale solar-farm style installations.

The feed-in tariff rate for the ‘medium’ category is 34.27c/kWh. The rate for the ‘large’ category is forthcoming, and will be posted here as soon as they become available.

Solar Choice Commercial manages the tender process for a wide diversity of large-scale solar power projects throughout Australia, including for solar communities, mining companies, restaurant groups, shopping centres, and rural solar farms. For professional management and consultancy on your solar energy project, contact our Commercial Tenders Management team on 1300 78 72 73 for more information.

© 2011 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Sources and links:

ACT Electricity feed-in tariff scheme fact-sheet (pdf)

ACT Feed-in tariff update newsfeed

ACT Chief minister media release: “Micro-scale feed-in tariff closes”

Previous related Solar Choice blog entries:

ACT solar feed-in tariff overview : Federal REC multiplier to be reduced from 5x to 3x

James Martin II