The Western Australian Government has announced it is making solar power purchase agreements more accessible in the State.
Energy Minister Mike Nahan said his government would be making it easier for solar PPA providers to operate in Western Australia by allowing companies to apply directly to the Public Utilities Office (PUO) for exemptions from the requirement to hold a retail licence in order to sell electricity to consumers.
A solar PPA arrangement is usually associated with commercial solar in Australia. It’s where a long term contract is established to purchase electricity generated by a solar panel system installed at a customer’s premises. The solar company retains ownership of the system, but also assumes the burden of ownership; providing repairs and maintenance. There is usually no upfront cost to the customer for the installation of a system under a solar PPA.
At the end of the contract and depending on the arrangement, the customer may be able to purchase the system outright at a reduced cost.
“By creating the exemption, we have broken down barriers, cut red tape and reduced the regulatory costs for solar PPA providers to offer electricity services to customers,” said Dr. Nahan.
“This will help the emerging market to develop and increase the choices that customers have to access these innovative and renewable sources of electricity at an affordable price.”
Dr. Nahan also said the state’s Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (WA’s solar feed in tariff) will be available to eligible customers who export electricity back into the mains grid.
Given the rapidly falling cost of solar in Western Australia, solar PPA’s are usually of most benefit in conjunction with large systems.
Western Australia currently boasts around 206,000 small scale (<100kW) solar installations. It works out to be around one system for every 12 people in the state.
“The Government is a huge supporter of renewable energy and this new measure will promote the uptake of even more solar PV systems by the community,” said the Minister.
Recently, Dr. Nahan also announced a new $4 million stand-alone solar + battery storage pilot project on six properties in regional areas of the state.