Renewable Energy Target Discussion Paper 2012 Released


The Climate Change Authority’s RET discussion paper was released on Friday. While the CCA recommends the target remains unchanged, not all the recommendations are good news for the home solar power sector.
The Authority considers that policy stability is important in encouraging new investment and believes adding to these uncertainties by recommending major changes to current policy settings at this time could put that investment at risk.
The Authority’s preliminary view is that the existing target for large-scale renewables (LRET) target should not be changed. 
With regard to the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), the Authority’s preliminary view is that the SRES should remain a separate scheme and its broad structure should remain largely unchanged. 
However, the CCA also recommends discounting the number of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), known as Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) for home solar power systems. This would mean certificates issued for each megawatt hour of electricity generated by a rooftop solar panel array be reduced below 1:1.
A “discounting” of certificates would translate to less of an up-front discount for purchasers of home solar power systems
The storm clouds certainly appear to be gathering for prospective home solar purchasers. Not only is the Solar Credits subsidy (a REC multiplier system) due to be phased out totally on July 1 next year, the Productivity Commission recently recommended that all subsidies be phased out as soon as practically possible – which, if implemented, could see that date brought forward. 
Another interesting aspect of the CCA’s recommendations relates to the accreditation of solar panel installers. Currently the only game in town in terms of accreditation bodies is the Clean Energy Council. The Authority suggests greater flexibility and choice could be created through allowing extra accreditation bodies.
“Allowing other interested parties to accredit installers could result in increased services to the industry and/or reduced costs for participants,” states the CCA.
The full discussion paper can be viewed here (PDF). The Climate Change Authority is calling for feedback on the discussion paper from interested parties by 14 November 2012.