The ACT’s new gross feed in tariff system came into effect yesterday and is set to create a thriving solar power industry for Canberra.
While some states only offer buyback rates a little above the market rate for electricity or have no feed in tariff program at all, the ACT scheme pays between 50.05c/kWh for electricity produced by grid connected solar power systems up to 10kw capacity and 40.04c/kWh for systems up to 30kW capacity.
The program, set at a multiplier of 3.88 on the market rate for electricity and guaranteed for 20 years, offeris those considering investing in a solar power system reassurance they will be able to recoup their outlay in a much shorter time than in other states.
The other major difference in the ACT feed in tariff program is it is based on a gross model whereby all electricity generated attracts the premium rate. Other states programs are based on a net model, meaning that only electricity generated surplus to the consumption of the building the system is supplying is eligible.
Canberra’s largest electricity provider, ActewAGL, is yet to update its web site reflecting the details of the new program.
While the ACT’s feed in tariff program is expected to see a rush on business and home solar power systems being installed in Canberra and surrounding areas, parties interested in developing solar farms above 30 kW capacity will need to wait a little longer as a decision is yet to be made on rates and guidelines for larger systems.
The ACT Greens say they will be lobbying intensely over the next few months to ensure legislation is in place to encourage medium and large scale generators to develop solar farms in the Canberra area.
Given the fractured system of feed in tariffs in Australia, the issue is a confusing one for many consumers as each state has differing guidelines guidelines. National programs in place around the world have consistently proven that a gross feed in tariff is one of the most cost effective ways to encourage the uptake of solar energy.
The Council Of Australian Governments (COAG) met late last year on the issue creating a national, uniform feed in tariff program, but since that time there appears to have been little activity. The principles discussed at that meeting were also criticised as being a watered down version of what is needed for a successful program.
Australian solar power company Energy Matters, concerned by the lack of progress on the implementation of such a system and how it would operate, recently launched an online petition with the goal of encouraging the federal government to move forward with a national program as soon as possible. The petition at FeedInTariff.com.au has attracted over 11,000 signatures to date and the Victoria based company has also continued actively lobbying and consulting with government behind the scenes.
Further details on the ACT / Canberra solar feed in tariff