With the $8000 solar power rebate for households with incomes under $100,000 ending in less than 6 months, then to be replaced by the solar credits program, increasing numbers of solar buyers groups are being formed in order to get the best deal for their members on grid connected solar energy systems.
The Weekly Times has reported on 2 such buyers groups cleaning up thanks to their increased purchasing power of bulk ordering. One group is Murchison Goes Solar, which is allowing their members to procure systems for just a $100 deposit.
The other group is Strathfieldsaye Community Enterprise Solar Rooftops program. Energy Matters was selected by the SDCE as the supplier and installer of the systems based on cost and capacity to meet demand generated by the group.
In addition to saving on solar power systems, members of a solar buyers group can also further offset the investment by taking advantage of feed in tariffs; where system owners are paid a premium rate for electricity exported to the mains grid. Feed in tariffs levels and conditions vary from state to state, with the ACT offering the most generous program to be launched in March, offering a rate of 44c per kilowatt produced and based on a gross model.
The Australian government is currently considering a nationalised, uniform feed in tariff program and many supporters are pushing for an 80c per kilowatt minimum gross model, emulating Germany’s program which has been highly successful in stimulating the country’s renewable energy sector and decreasing electricity related household greenhouse gas emissions.