UPDATE: Western Australia Solar Feed In Tariff Suspended.

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Update: 12:55 PM – WA’s Energy Minister Peter Collier announced a few hours ago that Western Australia’s feed in tariff  installation quota has been reached and the program suspended for new connections. The Minister reiterated that even without a feed in tariff, households installing a solar power system will still see a reasonable payback period.
 
Minister Collier said Synergy and Horizon Power will continue buying excess electricity fed into the grid from all residential renewable systems under the State Government’s Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme. 
   
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An article appearing in The West Australian this morning states WA’s solar feed in tariff program cap is rapidly approaching and expected to be reached by September.
      
Western Australia has set a cap of 150 megawatts capacity under its feed in tariff initiative and according to Office of Energy figures, by the end of May approximately 110 megawatts capacity had already been approved. The West Australian’s report says installations were growing at a rate of 5000 solar power systems a month.
     
WA’s feed in tariff originally paid system owners a premium rate of 40c per kilowatt hour for electricity exported to the mains grid. The 150 MW cap and a new rate of 20 cents per kilowatt hour was announced in May to apply to all new applications to the program received from 1 July 2011.
    
Once the cap is reached, solar households on either the 40c or 20c rate will continue to receive that amount for the duration of their contracts. For new connections after that time, the situation is not clear, however Western Australia’s Energy Minister Peter Collier points out that even without a feed in tariff scheme a solar power system will still provide an attractive payback period.
   
As in other states, electricity prices in Western Australia continue to rise; with no end in sight. On 19 May 2011, the State Government announced a 5% increase to household and small business electricity prices; applied from 1 July 2011. This followed a rise of  10% on 1 April and 15% on 1 July 2009. In 2010, a further jump of  7.5% on 1 April and 10% on 1 July occurred.
    
According to national solar solutions provider Energy Matters’ online solar quote tool, an entry-level 1.41kW home solar power system installed in Perth will return an estimated $880 annually in electricity savings.
    
Related:
   
Perth and Western Australia solar power specials