Despite the low rate recently recommended by NSW’s Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) last week, the state’s far western Parks and Wildlife service will carry on with installation of solar PV system. The already has 12 solar PV systems installed in the western part of the state, and will install more in the future, indicative of the benefits that solar PV systems afford their owners even in the absence of strong government support.
IPART’s final report recommends a tariff of 5-10c per kilowatt-hour of solar electricity fed into the grid, a much lower rate than what the solar industry was expecting. NSW Parks and Wildlife Regional Operations Coordinator Paul Seager said in an interview with the ABC that although people may be deterred from going solar in the short-term, the long-term prospects of the industry are good.
“I would like to think with our clear, sunny skies, and the distances between locations, and the cost of installing large transmission lines, and the cost of installing power plants that I’m hopeful grid-connected solar will play a part in Australia’s energy future,” said Seager.
Although Parks and Wildlife are currently benefiting from the state’s now defunct Solar Bonus Scheme at a rate of 60c/kWh on its solar systems, they expect to continue investing in solar even after the scheme expires–presumably in 2016, when the scheme and its rates can legally be altered “Regardless of our own tariff we’ll continue to generate much of our own power and significantly reduce our carbon footprint,” he said.
In addition to the ‘feel-good’ benefits of solar power, owners also stand to benefit financially in NSW. Using electricity during sunshine hours, while the system is producing power, allows homes and businesses to offset their power usage and save on their power bills.
Thanks to Federal government Solar Credit Rebates, a glut of solar panel stock, and increased competition between solar installers, the cost of a solar system has never been lower. Additionally, with the cost of electricity set to rise across Australia, solar PV systems will become increasingly attractive investments for the right homes and businesses.
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