UPDATE: ACT Closes Micro Solar Feed In Tariff

Updated 4pm, June 1, 2011. Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Simon Corbell, has announced the end of the Micro Generator component of the ACT Feed-In Tariff Scheme for new connections.

“As at midnight last night (Tuesday, 31 May 2011) the Micro Generator category was closed as the legislated cap has been reached. The scheme has delivered all and more than was expected of it with unprecedented numbers of applications over the last few months.”

People who entered into a contract to purchase a system or paid a deposit prior to midnight last night will still be eligible for the program. Once all outstanding applications have been processed, it’s expected that 6,000 households with solar panels in the ACT would have benefited from the scheme; making a substantial contribution to reducing the Territory’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Minister Corbell was quick to point out the closure did not spell the end of feed in tariffs in the A.C.T. A Medium Generator category for medium scale solar installations greater than 30kW and up to 200kW is still active; and like the Micro category has an allocated cap of 15MW. The Medium Generator category pays a rate of 34.27 c per kilowatt hour for all electricity generated by a solar array.

Minister Corbell also stated the government will introduce a large-scale generation feed-in tariff, with 40MW to be allocated to solar farm scale projects by a reverse auction process in the next 12 months.

The ACT’s solar feed in tariff for home solar power systems has been one of the most generous incentive schemes in Australia to date. The Territory joins a continuing trend of states slashing or closing feed in tariff schemes to new residential connections.

In regard to arrangements going forward for purchasers of residential solar power systems in the A.C.T, aside from the Solar Credits rebate still applying; according to an email from ActewAGL received this afternoon, if a customer has a grid-connected renewable energy (solar or wind) energy generator and the customer is not receiving the ACT feed-in-tariff as established under the Electricity Feed-in (Renewable Energy Premium) Act 2008, the following will apply:

– The customer will pay the published energy tariff rate for all energy imported from ActewAGL Distribution’s network.

– In the event that the customer has generated energy over a billing period, then ActewAGL Retail will purchase the energy at the customer’s energy tariff rate

– If the customer is on a time-of-use tariff, the customer’s energy tariff rate for the purpose of purchasing energy generated shall be the middle rate (shoulder rate for residential customers and evening rate for commercial customers).

– If the customer is on a tariff with two or more price steps, the customer’s energy tariff rate for the purpose of purchasing energy generated shall be the rate applied to the first step.

– The customer will continue to pay the supply charge.

– This arrangement is available only to customers with less than 30 kilowatts installed capacity of renewable generation.