Are Australian utilities creating extra hurdles for rooftop solar?

A leading international manufacturer of solar inverters has suggested that Australian utilities are throwing up artificial barriers to slow down the uptake of rooftop solar in Australia.

The Swiss-based SolarMax said the Australian market is largely based around grid parity, but regulatory and technical barriers are becoming roadblocks to market growth.

Derek Durham, who heads SolarMax’s operations in Australia, said that the company’s experience in countries such as Germany and Italy, where there are higher levels of PV penetration, led him to believe that the grid integration processes was geared towards facilitating as much PV penetration as possible, and “not to impose a block on PV.” Not so in Australia.

“In Australia I’m getting concerned that there may be a tendency towards imposing restrictions precisely for that purpose,” said Durham. “I have been hearing cases recently where I am beginning to mistrust certain authorities and their intentions and that’s obviously of great concern to us.”

Kirsten Rose, the CEO of the Sustainable Energy Association, agreed. “I’m not he first person to say that solar is a disruptive technology and we are seeing that very clearly in the way that network operators and the retailers are reacting to it and they are not necessarily reacting in a way that makes it easy for that end customer to put solar on their roof. So what we advocate around is removing those barriers, getting the network to the point where connecting a solar installation is a much simpler process much more economic proposition.”

Top image via Wikipedia

© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson