The ACT’s generous solar feed in tariff program has been expanded to include larger solar farms and provide better access to the scheme for co-operatives, those renting and community groups.
According to the Australian Solar Energy Society, the gross feed in tariff is now available for solar panel installations 30kW to 200kW in size, and specifically opens the market to larger commercial and industrial solar farms.
Minister for Energy, Simon Corbel, said the changes take Canberra another step towards becoming Australia’s solar capital.
“This legislation is very important for two reasons; firstly to give the solar industry the certainty it needs to invest in medium and large scale generation, and to ensure the ongoing success of the feed-in tariff scheme into the future.”
Some sources had reported that the expansion would bite heavily into an existing overall cap of 15MW installed capacity that includes residential installations, but according to the ACT government’s announcement, a separate 15 MW cap has been created for medium scale solar farms and another 15MW cap for a community category.
The community category will allow individuals occupying rental properties to participate in the program more easily and community groups will be able to form co-operatives to collectively develop solar farms.
The popularity of the generous ACT program, which pays a premium rate for all electricity produced by a solar power system, has seen the installation of over 3,500 home solar power systems already; meaning a large chunk of the 15 MW installed capacity cap designated for micro-generator installs has already been reached.
The A.C.T is currently the only state or territory offering a gross solar feed in tariff to new connections, with other states opting for a net model that only pays for surplus electricity produced by an array of solar panels.