The Federal Solar Credits rebate REC (or STC) multiplier has dropped from 3x to 2x as of 1 July 2012, as scheduled, despite fears that it would face a premature drop to 1x (i.e. no multiplier). The multiplier allows for the creation of ‘extra’ STCs on the first 1.5 kilowatts of capacity of a solar PV system when it is installed, which means a greater up-front rebate on the price of systems.
Little to no solar system price increase after Solar Credits rebate reduction
There has been little solar system price increase in solar PV system prices since the Federal Solar Credits REC multiplier fell from 3x to 2x, according to analysis by Warwick Johnston of Sunwiz, based on data from Solar Choice.
Queensland Solar Bonus Feed-in Tariff rate reduced to 8c/kWh
The Queensland Solar Bonus Feed-in Tariff scheme rate has dropped from 44c per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to 8c/kWh as of 12:00am 10 July 2012. In order to receive the 44c/kWh rate, customers would have had to lodge completed applications by this time.
Reactions to the Queensland Solar Bonus scheme reduction announcement
After the state government under Premier Campbell Newman announced that the Queensland Solar Bonus Feed-in Tariff scheme would be slashed from 10 July 2012, there was a range of reactions from a number of prominent solar and renewable energy industry players about the longer-term implications of the change.
Economics of solar power in Queensland under the 8c/kWh feed-in tariff rate
Applications for the Queensland Solar Bonus Feed-in Tariff scheme’s 44c/kWh rate flooded in after the announcement, with electricity distributor Energex handling over 1000 forms per day since the announcement of impending reductions to the scheme. What is the business case be for going solar now that the Solar Feed-in Tariff rate has dropped to 8c/kWh?
Solar Feed-in Tariff rate increase for South Australia
The minimum retailer payment portion of South Australia’s Solar Feed-in Tariff was increased from 7.1c per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to 9.8c/kWh on 1 July 2012. The minimum retailer payment is combined with the ‘base’ component of South Australia’s Transitional Solar Feed-in Tariff, which provides 16c for every kWh of solar power exported to the grid. The new rate will be a total of of 25.9c/kWh–making it one of the most generous mandatory Solar Feed-in Tariff rate Australia.
NSW benchmark Solar Feed-in Tariff rate for 2012-2013: 7.7c-12.9c/kWh
NSW’s Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has announced the Solar Bonus Scheme benchmark buyback rate for solar power fed into the electricity grid in NSW for the financial year 2012-2013. The rate range of 7.7 to 12.9c per kilowatt-hour (kWh), while not mandatory, is the amount that grid-connected solar PV system owners should seek from their electricity retailer for the period. It is also higher than last year’s recommended rate range of 5.2c – about 10.3c per kWh.
A report released by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), could mark the tipping point after which solar photovoltaics (PV) will transform from a technology widely seen as novel and uneconomical to most Australians into one seen as a bona fide major league player in the electricity generation game. Some of the most prominent voices in the solar industry argue that politicians should recognise this fact sooner rather than later and plan for Australia’s energy future accordingly.
SilexSolar announces permanent closure of Sydney solar panel manufacturing plant
SilexSolar has announced the permanent closure of its solar module assembly plant in Sydney, following the temporary shuttering of the facility last November. The company, a subsidiary of Silex Systems Pty Ltd, will continue to operate in order to service product warranties and to finish some commercial projects already in the process of being developed.
Changes in Feed-in Tariff rates for NSW Energy Australia customers
Energy Australia has changed the rates it offers to customers with a grid-connected solar PV system. On an up-note, the change means that newly installed solar systems will receive a rate of 7.7c per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for solar power exported to the grid–up 1.7c from 6c. However, another change introduced simultaneously means that Solar Bonus Scheme customers who had been receiving 66c rate through Energy Australia will now receive only 60c.
ET Solar launches micro-inverter solar panels in North America
China’s ET Solar has launched the industry’s highest efficiency AC solar panel. The UL171 and UL1703 lines of solar panels will contain SolarBridge Pantheon II micro-inverters and produce grid-compatible AC electricity.
10 tips for going solar from the Clean Energy Council
The Clean Energy Council–the independent body for solar installer and component accreditation in Australia–has released a helpful guide for those interested in making the move to installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system at home. The CEC has also simultaneously published a myth-busting FAQ which dismantles some of the erroneous arguments and clears up some of the popular misconceptions regarding solar PV technology.
Solar panel oversupply to continue to 2015: GTM Research
The oversupply of solar panels on the world market will not be absorbed until 2015, according to a recent report by renewable power consultancy GTM Research. Global production capacity for solar panels currently sits at around 59 gigawatts (GW), while expected demand for the year is only around 30GW.
The development of affordable storage solutions for solar power or other renewable energy sources such as wind will change the nature of electricity generation and distribution as we know it. Most people think of wind and solar power storage (usually in the form of batteries) as a technology primarily for use in off-grid/stand-alone solar power systems. However, a growing number of companies are now offering increasingly intelligent solar power management and storage solutions–both for the residential and commercial solar power markets.
There are good financial reasons for retirement villages to install solar power systems in Australia. Regardless of whether the state in which the retirement village is located offers a Feed-in Tariff for solar power or not, such multi-rooftop solar PV installations afford the property owners a means to reduce their operating costs by shrinking power bills. Retirement villages are particularly well-suited for solar power because their multiplicity of rooftops means greater ability to take advantage of economies of scale and negotiate a lower per-watt price on each installation than an ordinary homeowner.
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