No Light for Local Solar Industry
Since the NSW Government came to power we have seen our industry decimated by indecision and a review that has ignored the broader benefits solar brings to our community. The postcode of 2480 had one of the highest uptakes of solar in NSW, with over 500kW installed in March. Industry figures just released have seen this figure crash to zero in September.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) draft report into Setting a Fair and Reasonable Value for Electricity Generated by Small-scale Solar PV units in NSW has been released. Rainbow Power Company believes the 8 -10c price recommended in the report undervalues the electricity being exported to the grid by solar customers.
The draft report identifies that other financial benefits exist from solar installations through network saving and reduced wholesale electricity prices. However they are difficult to quantify and have been ignored in the recommended price. The additional recommendation that for this payment be voluntary places our solar customers at the mercy of the electricity retailers.
If a bare minimum value is placed on solar exports, the government should not be afraid to protect all solar customers through a regulated floor price. Market competition can then place additional value on customer's exports on top of the regulated 8 cent tariff. We saw at the height of the Solar Bonus Scheme (SBS) some electricity retailers were offering up to 68c per kilowatt hour to customers.
The IPART review also identified NSW electricity retailers are currently receiving a $200 million windfall from the electricity produced under the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme. It has been recommended that they pay a 7.5c per kWh contribution to the cost of the SBS.
Existing Solar Bonus Scheme customers, currently receiving 60c per kW, need to be aware that the rules being developed by IPART will apply to them when the scheme ends in 2016.
"How is it that the NSW government was prepared to rip up contracts with existing solar customers, but is reluctant to enforce energy retailers to pay a fair price for solar going into their networks?"