The Federal Government’s Solar Flagships program was designed to encourage the development of very large-scale solar power plants. Round 1 of the program will provide partial funding (about 1/3 of the cost) to one concentrating solar power (CSP) plant and one solar photovoltaic (solar PV) plant. The 150MW Moree Solar Farm was to be the winner in the latter category until it failed to meet the funding criteria required to obtain the government grant. Now the project has been thrown back into the pool with the competitors that it had previously bested. Meanwhile, the ACT’s large-scale reverse auction Feed-in Tariff is steaming ahead, with the winners of the first round to be decided by July this year.
This week also brings an article detailing the grid-connection requirements for Northern Territory “Top End” residents. There are a few additional building-related hurdles in place in Darwin and surrounds due to the inclination of cyclones to make landfall there.
Additionally, Victoria residents considering going solar might want to keep an eye on what’s happening with Victoria’s Feed-in Tariff Inquiry. A draft recommendation as to how the state should handle its renewable energy generation systems is due out in May this year. The Inquiry commission will look at the issue of feed-in tariffs from a holistic perspective, and in the end the state’s current incentive programs may be altered or terminated depending on the recommendations.
What the Solar Flagships trouble means for large-scale solar
The Solar Flagships program has been receiving a lot of media attention recently for the failure of the program’s two winning applicants to meet the deadline for funding requirements. The 250MW concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in Chinchilla, Queensland has managed to have this deadline extended, while the Moree Solar Farm, a 150MW solar PV plant in NSW, has been thrown back into the running against its former competitors for the funding, with Federal Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson’s office noting that the Moree project had also been altered significantly from the original plan.
Darwin, NT: Criteria for connecting solar PV systems to the electricity grid
The criteria for having solar PV systems connected to the grid differ from state to state. Due to the occurrence of seasonal cyclones, Northern Territory rooftop solar PV installations in Darwin and the Top End are subject to a number of additional hurdles that other state residents may not necessarily have to worry about. What are they?
Victoria Feed-in Tariff Inquiry Issues Paper released: Submissions due 19 March 2012
The Victorian Competition & Efficiency Commission has released an Issues Paper relating to the inquiry into the state’s Feed-in Tariffs. The inquiry will look into Victoria’s Standard and Transitional Feed-in Tariffs, as well as the now concluded Premium Feed-in Tariff in an attempt to evaluate the efficacy of this approach to renewable energy subsidisation in the light of Federal renewable energy support schemes, the introduction of a carbon price, and a significant drop in the price of solar PV systems. All stakeholders, including households and industry players, are invited to submit comments by 19 March 2012.
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