Generous Solar Feed-In Rewards announced for West Australia

The Western Australian Government has recently committed to implementing a feed-in tariff, or reward scheme, for homeowners who install solar energy.

Most importantly, the WA feed-in tariff will reward homeowners for all the energy their solar panels produce, not just for any surplus left over after domestic consumption. In doing so WA is following the lead of the ACT, where an identical scheme comes into operation in around June 2009.

The WA Govt is also looking at options for extending the scheme to small business and commercial premises.

The Sustainable Energy Development Office in WA also announced the following key features:

1. System owners will receive the value of up to 60c per kW/h for all electricity generated (gross generation). This premium value is approx four times the market rate of electricity.

2. The feed-in tariff will be paid for sufficient time to pay for the system cost after accounting for capital subsidies, grants and rebates. This is likely to vary between two and nine years.

3. After system capital costs are recovered, system owners will revert to the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme.

Feed-in tariffs are used in many countries, including most successfully in Germany and Spain, to pay owners of renewable energy systems at above the market rate for the electricity they generate. They provide an incentive for homeowners to install renewable energy systems, and reward the off setting of carbon emissions.