Say No To Solar Feed In Tariff Deregulation In South Australia

Sky Image: BigStock

The Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCoSA)  has proposed deregulating the state’s feed in tariff – it’s not a good idea says the CEC.
In a response to ESCoSA’s Issues Paper on feed in tariffs, the Clean Energy Council (CEC) has said incentives need to be regulated to direct investment efficiently and protect solar consumers.
“The bottom line is that if feed-in tariffs are deregulated, opportunities to maximise the network benefits of solar PV will be wasted,” according to the CEC. “The NSW experience also shows that competition between electricity retailers is not enough to protect the interests of solar consumers.”
Solar Citizens is also weighing in on the issue with a petition. Solar Citizens says electricity companies have “no interest in providing a fair price for solar”.
The CEC also states feed in tariffs should vary with time of production to maximise distributed generation exports when the value of electricity is at its highest. Additionally, payment rates should be location-specific to promote uptake in areas subject to the greatest constraint.
The CEC’s full submission can be viewed here (PDF). 
ESCOSA has called for interested parties to make a submission to the Issues Paper (PDF). Written submissions must be made by 26 July 2013.
The threat of deregulation aside, the best time to go solar in South Australia is right now. 
South Australia’s solar feed in tariff is comprised of two components; the distributor contribution and a minimum electricity retailer contribution totalling 25.8c. The 16 cent component paid by SA Power Networks will only be available for new connections until 30 September 2013. 
Households installing solar panels before that date will continue to receive the 16c per kilowatt hour component for surplus electricity exported to the mains grid until 30 September 2016.
National solar provider Energy Matters is now offering a zero-deposit payment plan to help more South Australians go solar. Under the program, repayments can be less than the savings made; meaning households can be ahead from the time a system is installed and connected to the mains grid.