The Clean Energy Future Plan will see carbon priced at $23 per tonne from 1 July 2012, rising by 2.5 per cent each year during a three-year fixed price period until 1 July 2015, when the mechanism will transition to an emissions trading scheme with a price determined by the market.
GREG Combet will today move to ease average household power price rises by about $50 a year by deepening cuts to incentives for people who install solar panels on their roofs.
The Climate Change Minister is expected to announce another scaling back of the solar credits scheme — the second such move by the government in six months — which will see the average rebate to households installing a 1.5 kilowatt system in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Adelaide fall from $6200 to $3720.
Today’s announcement, which comes as the government becomes increasingly concerned about the impact of rising cost-of-living pressures on its electoral stocks, is expected to save householders between $25 and $35 next year. This is on top of changes announced last December that were expected to save $12 a year.
This will be achieved by lowering the amount of high-cost power that electricity retailers must buy under the government’s renewable energy target. As it moves to confront cost-of-living pressures, the government will also today announce it will ask state and territory governments to make sure their feed-in tariffs “do not impose an unjustifiable burden on electricity consumers”.
Mr Combet will argue the scale-back was vital in light of continued growth in the industry and its impact on power prices.
But the government will honour existing written contracts to install small-scale solar panels made under current arrangements. Solar panels are granted renewable energy certificates based on the amount of power they produce. Electricity retailers must purchase the certificates at $40 each under the government’s amended RET.
Under the solar credits scheme, householders are eligible for an upfront payment worth five times the value of certificates their solar panels will produce.
That was to have been scaled back to four times from July 1 under changes announced in December but the scale-back will be deepened today when the government declares the multiple will be cut to three from July 1.
The move will hasten the phase-out of the scheme. The multiple will fall from three to two from July 1, next year and then revert to one from July 1, 2013.
Mr Combet will argue that strong demand for solar panels had continued despite December’s announcement, fuelled by declining system costs, the strong Australian dollar and economy as state and territory feed-in tariff schemes.
He will also argue the generous support for solar panels has contributed to a fall in the installation of solar hot water heaters. The drop in the multiplier will help reduce the oversupply of renewable energy certificates.
Under the solar credits scheme solar panel installation has ballooned. The number of installations supported by the RET grew from 15,000 in 2008 to more than 60,000 last year and 120,000 last year.
The Australian also understands the government has been concerned that the solar panel scheme was favouring affluent home owners, while renters and lower-income earners were subsidising the scheme through higher power prices.
Solar power is now cheaper than nuclear, researchers say
The power generation business has changed so much over the last decade that electricity generated from solar energy will be cheaper than electricity generated from the proposed new nuclear plants according to a leading UK power supplier and US researchers.
Australia’s solar power industry is experiencing a boom in customer demand thanks in part to a significant increase in current electricity prices, and a forecast of more price hikes to come. When combined with the generous government rebates and feed in tariffs on offer, the expected price hikes are contributing to a surge in residential solar power installations.
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Forget wind power or conventional solar power, the world’s energy needs could be met 100 billion times over using a satellite to harness the solar wind and beam the energy to Earth – though focussing the beam could be tricky.
A group of environmental activists set out last week on a publicized road tour from Maine’s Unity College to Washington, D.C., hauling a nearly forgotten historic relic – a solar panel – to dramatize the importance of alternative energy. The question, in today’s political climate, is whether it will remain a relic.
Householders will soon be given greater incentive to embrace cleaner energy while also reducing the cost of their electricity bill.
Energy Minister Peter Collier has announced State Budget funding of $23million to introduce a residential net feed-in tariff scheme, providing a subsidy to householders with new and existing photovoltaic, wind and micro-hydro systems.
The scheme will open for applications from July 1, with payments to be made from August 1.
It will be available for residential installations where the system is owned by the home owner, including tenanted properties.
“The net feed-in tariff scheme has been set at 40 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) on electricity exported into both the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) and regional grids,” Mr Collier said.
“This is in addition to the price paid under the existing Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme, which will allow householders to receive a minimum of 47c/kWh.
“This provides a genuine incentive for home owners to install renewable energy systems, which not only has a positive impact on the environment but it will also help householders manage their electricity bills.”
Energy Farm this month made an agreement that will see more efficient high quality panels being imported into Perth in 250watt and 290watt sizes. Designed in America and manufactured in India, the panels are of very high quality/efficiency and include longer warranties than many panels coming out of China.
Energy Farm sees this as a real step forward for the home owner who now has the option to put less panels on their roof due to these highly efficient modules and they make a great addition to our growing list of panel brands and options. To top it off, they are a great looking module, the image pictured above is a closeup of a panel that is on one of our staffs roof!
WA is set to shine with two new power stations that use green energy. The station at Kwinana is a $130 million, gas-operated and privately-owned complex. The second station opened today in Marble Bar and is the world’s first that combines renewable and traditional sources of generation. It incorporates a single-axis tracking solar farm with diesel technology and a flywheel-energy storage system.