The ACT Greens have expressed concerns the nation’s most generous micro scale solar feed in tariff program may reach its cap very soon, which could have devastating effects on the Territory’s solar industry.
ACT Greens Energy spokesperson Shane Rattenbury says figures in Estimates hearings reveal households wanting to make the switch to solar may only have weeks left to apply for the program.
According to the Greens, the Minister has revealed at least 9.5 MW of rooftop solar panels have already been installed, and at least 400 new applications are being received each week. In April, legislation was amended to place a limit of 15 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity on micro systems.
“At a conservative estimate, that means 700-800 kilowatts a week being installed, which could see the cap reached in 7-8 weeks.”
The A.C.T’s feed in tariff pays participating owners of solar power systems 45.7c/kWh for all electricity produced.
“The Government has failed to ensure the industry has a sustained future. The implantation of a fixed cap and the failure to wind down the premium price for the FIT means that we may be about to witness another boom bust cycle for the solar industry. It is no way to build a long term industry with secure jobs,” Mr. Rattenbury said.
Australian governments have made the same mistake other countries have made time and time again in relation to solar power – underestimating just how popular it is; particularly in relation to residential rooftop solar arrays. The only barrier to uptake has been the initial cost of installing a system.
People are increasingly becoming aware a solar power system can provide a healthy buffer against continually increasing electricity costs while reducing their household greenhouse gas emissions – and government rebates and incentives such as feed in tariffs make going solar even more attractive.