Earlier this month Premier Rann made his long awaited announcement regarding the changes he wants to bring to the Solar Bonus scheme for South Australia. Here’s what he said:
The good news is that there will be an increase in the payment you will receive for the solar power you export from 44c/kWh to 54c/kWh. “We don’t think it is enough, but it’s a start.” There is also, a recognition that retailers should actually pay something out of their own pockets for the power you produce.
However, there is a sting in the tail. Eligibility for the scheme will be somewhat restricted. Larger systems will be excluded. Also, the scheme will be closed for all new solar installations once a cap of 60 MW is reached, a target which the Government estimates that will occur sometime next year.
Mr Rann says those intending to install solar panels to take advantage of the new scheme will be subject to new eligibility criteria including:
- a limit of one generator per customer
- the exclusion of additional generators installed specifically to create a profit from the scheme
- the bonus will be limited to the first 45 kilowatt-hours per day – this limit will not affect normal residential systems (i.e. those less than 7. kilowatts).
Note: 60 MW is approximately 40,000 1.5kW systems or 20,000 3kW systems or 12,000 5kW systems.
Earlier in August this year John Grimes the CEO of the Australian Solar Energy Society said “Big solar is becoming big business around the world, and Victoria will soon be riding the clean energy investment wave. There’s no reason, though, why Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales shouldn’t also be riding that wave.”
Now, Premier Rann’s statments may have a significant negative impact on the solar industry, with Government policy again encouraging a ‘boom and bust’ cycle. The Government still has to get these changes through Parliament, and there are members of the legislative council who feel the need to bring more positive changes to this vision as suggested by Mr. Grimes.
Written by Prateek Chourdia
MEngSc – Photovoltaics and Solar Energy, UNSW
Solar Energy Analyst
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