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Victoria's Solar Feed In Tariff Farce


by Energy Matters

Victoria's solar feed in tariff
Many Victorians who are enthusiastic to invest in solar power systems but holding off until a feed in tariff program is implemented in the state might be very disappointed by proposed legislation introduced by Victoria's State Government.

Under the Electricity Industry Amendment (Premium Solar Feed-in Tariff) Bill 2009, home owners who have installed a grid connect solar power system will only receive 60c per kWh for surplus electricity generated as a credit on their bill, rather than as a cash payment as is the case in other states

Furthermore, if the system owner generates credit from the feed-in tariff exceeding the cost of their electricity consumption during the billing period, the additional credit is rolled over to the next billing period. Any credit not used within 12 months will be wiped.

Any accumulated credit will also be deemed null and void if the system owner changes electricity retailers or at the end of the scheme.

The Victorian State Government's attempt to pass this legislation has already met with harsh criticism, with some industry commentators stating it has little similarity to any successful feed in tariff program in existence anywhere, either net or gross. One industry source has called the plan "beyond abysmal, an absolute farce" and that aside from the current $8000 Federal Government rebate, Victorians will have little incentive to invest in solar power. 

Given Victoria's skyrocketing greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity generation and Victorian Premier John Brumby's recent claim of the state being "most solar friendly-government in Australia"; many are confused by the draft legislation. 

According to the Victorian Department of Industries web site, "a premium feed-in tariff scheme encourages households to be energy efficient, as the more power saved the higher the credits". If the credits disappear rather than getting paid out, there are fears it may encourage households to be inefficient in energy consumption.

The continuing disparity between Australian states in regards to feed in tariff programs and the success of nationalised programs in countries such as Germany has prompted many to call for a national, uniform gross feed in tariff locally. A petition established by Victorian solar power company Energy Matters at FeedInTariff.com.au to draw attention to the issue has already attracted over 13,000 signatures of support, including over 4,600 signatures from Victoria alone.



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