ACT Solar Feed In Tariff Scheme Closes (Again)

Further proving the point that the best time to buy solar panels is often “right now” given the popularity of solar rebates and incentives often results in programs being changed or axed, the ACT  Government has announced its generous solar feed in tariff scheme has closed – again – to new connections. It looks like this time it’s for good.

After an announcement to re-open the premium feed in tariff to small scale generators was made only weeks ago and with over three-quarters of the cap already reached by the end of the first week of July; by midnight last night the program was at full capacity. This signalled the end of the program not only for home solar power systems, but also medium scale.

“The Government warned against re-opening the Scheme and cautioned that it would further overheat a volatile market and would provide no certainty of a continuing market to industry. The fact that the combined cap was reached within two days proves the point beyond any doubt,” stated Acting Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Katy Gallagher.

Acting Minister Gallagher blasted the Greens and Liberals for pushing through a Bill allowing micro-generators to share what was left of the medium-scale generator cap of 30 megawatts.

“The Greens and the Liberals have simply created false hopes in the community and have manifestly failed to deliver the certainty to industry they claimed to be seeking,” said Ms Gallagher.

The Government originally closed the Micro Generator (up to 30kW) category of the scheme on 31 May 2011 when it exceeded its statutory cap.

As to the situation going forward for new connections, that is still unclear at this point in time. When the small-scale program was originally closed, a 1:1 net feed in tariff arrangement was to take its place for systems under 30kW in size; meaning ActewAGL Retail would purchase the energy at the customer’s energy tariff rate. If this is still the case, while the rate is not as generous as the previous arrangement, it will still make home solar power a worthwhile investment to reduce a household’s electricity bills and to act as a buffer against increasing electricity costs.