NSW pricing regulator IPART boosted its recommended range for solar feed-in tariffs in the state, suggesting between 11.9c/kWh and 15c/kWh for exports back into the grid in 2017-18.
The recommendations are slightly higher than the draft range released in May of 11.6c/kWh to 14.6/kWh, but substantially higher than last year’s benchmark of 5.5c/kWh to 7.2 c/kWh, thanks to soaring power prices.
The benchmark is a guide only, and comes with an 18-20 per cent jump in retail electricity prices also caused by the jump in wholesale electricity costs.
AGL has already announced its new solar feed in tariff to come into effect from July 1, but it comes in below this benchmark range, and the draft range too, at 11.1c/kWh.
IPART noted that many submissions from the state’s solar households argued the tariff should be higher, taking into account environmental benefits and profits made by retailers on the sale of rooftop solar electricity.
But IPART rejected these ideas, arguing solar households already received an upfront subsidy, and that retailers would make a loss if forced to pay retail rates for the exports.
Th regulator also said it was unfair to pass on environmental costs to households that could not install solar.
IPART also said it could see no network benefits of solar PV, despite strong evidence it has helped to narrow and shift the daily peak, and to keep the lights on in recent heat-wave conditions, when fossil fuel generators failed.