The Western Australian government has announced changes to state energy market regulations that will boost the uptake of rooftop solar and make the technology more accessible to a broader range of consumers.
WA energy minister Mike Nahan said the changes would make it easier for solar power purchase agreement (PPA) providers to operate in the state, to offer third party finance to solar customers.
Solar PPAs involve a PV company installing solar at no up-front cost, under an deal that sees the customer buy all the electricity generated by the system for a set period at an agreed price.
While this model has proven highly popular elsewhere in the world, particularly in the US, in WA the cost of obtaining a retail licence and complying with its requirements has proven prohibitive.
The changes mean providers can now apply directly to the Public Utilities Office for exemptions from the requirement to hold a retail licence in order to sell electricity to consumers – a move, Nahan says, that demonstrates the Barnett government’s commitment to solar and cutting red tape for business.
For consumers, the changes will mean more options to invest in rooftop solar – particularly for those who have not been able to afford to buy it up front.
“By creating the exemption, we have broken down barriers, cut red tape and reduced the regulatory costs for solar PPA providers to offer electricity services to customers,” Nahan said on Thursday.
“This will help the emerging market to develop and increase the choices that customers have to access these innovative and renewable sources of electricity at an affordable price.
“Retail licence exemptions, which can now be submitted to the PUO, will also include important consumer protection conditions to ensure consumers are aware of their rights and obligations under the solar PPA before entering into a contract,” he said.