Calls for national solar feed-in tariff

Payments to Australian households to encourage the installation of solar panels look set to become a reality, as the Federal Opposition unveiled plans for a national feed-in tariff scheme.

Feed-in tariffs pay households above the retail rate for electricity generated by solar panels. The Queensland and South Australian state governments have already approved their own feed-in tariff plans.

“We should be aiming for more than a piecemeal approach,” says Greg Hunt, opposition environment spokesman. “A national solar feed-in tariff could provide an immediate boost to domestic solar power uptake.”

State premiers and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last month agreed to work towards harmonizing Australia’s solar tariff laws.

Speaking at the Climate Action Network Australia conference, Mr Hunt reiterated the need for Australia to develop full-scale projects to provide baseload solar energy.

“Much needs to be done on this front in relation to cost, reliability and storage of energy. I am, however, convinced that solar baseload can be developed to contribute to average daily base energy needs and over time energy storage technology can be developed to allow full baseload operation derived from solar energy. The real challenge will be the timeframe and the cost for bringing forward major solar baseload power stations.”