Big Solar To Benefit From Feed In Tariffs In Canberra

The ACT Labor Government will today table legislation in the Territory’s Legislative Assembly to support development of large scale solar power facilities in Canberra.

Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development Simon Corbell says the  Electricity Feed In (Large Scale Renewable Energy Generation) Bill 2011 is the first time a feed in tariff for commercial scale solar power has been proposed by an Australian government.

“The Bill establishes the framework for a feed in tariff ‘reverse auction’ to award support for at least two large scale solar generation plants capable of powering 7000 Canberra homes. This reverse auction process will require companies to provide a detailed proposal to the ACT Government about how they can provide the greatest amount of renewable energy at the lowest cost to Canberrans.”

The new legislation will allow for up to 210 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity to be supported through a feed in tariff. A first release of 40MW of solar capacity will be released once the bill has passed; which is expected to occur before the end of this year.

The initial 40MW will avoid 850,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over the project’s life and provide enough solar electricity to meet approximately 14% of Canberra’s minimum electricity demand according to Minister Corbell.

John Grimes, the Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES), praised the initiative.

“The ACT’s reverse auction is an innovative way of driving investment in Big Solar. It will require solar companies to demonstrate how they can deliver zero pollution, large-scale solar at least cost to ACT taxpayers.”

“With construction underway on a number of Big Solar power plants across the country, the sun is rising on Australia’s clean energy future. The ACT will be driving Australia’s clean energy future through 210 megawatts of clean, solar power.”

Small scale solar power in Canberra is also still being supported through a 1:1 feed in tariff. Households with solar panels in Canberra and the A.C.T are rewarded for any surplus electricity generated by their systems; which is purchased by ActewAGL Retail at the customer’s electricity tariff rate.