Tasmania’s Solar Feed In Tariff Threatened

Solar households in Tasmania are currently receiving a 1 for 1 feed-in tariff arrangement – but for how much longer?

The Apple Isle’s feed in tariff is one of the most generous programs currently active and accepting new applications in Australia; but unlike other programs, there is no contract length.

Fears are growing that the incentive could be slashed when Aurora Energy is replaced by private companies in 2014.

Tasmania’s Minister for Energy and Resources Bryan Green says the Government’s priority is to ensure people are treated fairly; but the experience elsewhere in Australia with regard to “fair” value of solar electricity has at times shown it to be anything but.

The concern is that the incentive could wind up being at 6-8 cent feed-in tariff. While such a drop would still make going solar attractive, particularly for households that would consume most of the power they generate; it will likely have a marked effect on the industry, resulting in companies closing their doors and an associated loss of jobs in Tasmania.

A Facebook page has been started by unknown parties drawing attention to the issue and to promote a petition to save Tasmania’s current feed in tariff incentive.

With a decision not expected until late in the year; the best time to go solar in Tasmania is right now to make the most of the current generous rate. On the tariff Aurora 31 (day rate electricity), households with solar power systems save 25.6 cents per kilowatt hour.

Being Australia’s most southern state, Tasmania receives the most sun hours during summer. Long sun hours and slightly cooler temperatures are ideal conditions to be generating solar electricity and earning credits that can be later used to offset expensive winter heating bills.

According to national solar solutions provider Energy Matters, which has a branch in Launceston serving the state; a 5kW solar panel system can provide a financial benefit of approximately $1,485 annually; depending on installation location.