South Australia’s Solar Feed In Tariff Changes Legislation Tabled

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There’s good news and bad news for solar supporters in South Australia. Legislation has finally been tabled that, if passed, will see the feed in tariff rate increase to a very generous 54c per kilowatt hour, plus an additional amount from electricity retailers. The bad news is the scheme will close to new connections later this year.
   
South Australia’s Minister for Energy Michael O’Brien announced yesterday the Government has decided to change the previously announced cut-off point, which was a total scheme capacity of 60 megawatts, with a closure date of midnight on 30 September 2011.
   
The proposed legislation also changes the current 44c per kilowatt feed in tariff to 54c. If passed, the boost will make South Australia’s solar feed in tariff program one of the most generous in the country for those fortunate enough to install a solar power system by the cutoff date. Solar households already under the scheme will also benefit from the increased payment rate. The program runs until 2028.
   
In addition, The Electricity (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2011 will obligate retailers to pay an amount additional to the 54c. The minimum price will be determined by the Essential Services Commission of South Australia and is expected to be in the order of 6 cents per kilowatt-hour.
   
Other changes that will occur once the legislation is passed is new eligibility criteria; including a a limit of one generator per customer, the exclusion of systems installed specifically to create a profit from the scheme and a limit to the premium feed in tariff rate being payable for the first 45 kilowatt-hours generated a day. The daily 45kW limit will not affect home solar power installations as it is far higher than what such a system would produce.
    
A fact sheet for South Australia’s Feed-In Scheme for Small-Scale Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Installations can be viewed here (PDF).