The Victorian Government’s slashing of the state’s solar feed-in tariff will hurt confidence in solar power in Victoria and lead to a shrinking in the solar industry, the Alternative Technology Association says.
The ATA’s energy projects and policy manager, Damien Moyse, said the government’s figures were wrong on the time it would take people to pay back the cost of their solar system after the introduction of the new 25 cent/kilowatt hour tariff.
In its media release, the Victorian Energy Minister says “The new scheme will still mean people investing in rooftop solar systems will have an average payback period of less than 10 years.”
But Mr Moyse said it was impossible under the new tariff for a consumer to pay off a system within a decade.
“If the new tariff was designed to pay a solar owner for 15 years’ worth of solar export, then at likely 2012 solar PV prices this could at a stretch result in less than a 10 year payback. But the government’s new policy only applies for five years – one third of that time. There’s no way a solar household will pay off a system within 10 years based on such a short policy.
“If there is no value for the exported electricity from their solar system after five years, and a household exports half or more of its solar power as many households do, it will be closer to 15 or 20 years by the time the system is paid off.
“Unfortunately, governments have never been particularly good at doing these types of complex calculations and should have checked with industry first.”
Mr Moyse said the Victorian Government had missed the point of a feed-in tariff, which was a temporary mechanism to maintain healthy support for solar technology before the achievement of grid parity.
“At low cost to the community, the Victorian Government could have continued to support the industry and consumers to invest in small solar, with a feed-in tariff of about 35-40 cents/kilowatt hour. As it stands, today’s harsh decision will damage solar.
“Hot on the heels of their disastrous wind energy policy, which will cost the state millions of dollars in lost investment and hundreds of jobs, this is another bad blunder by the Baillieu Government.
“So far, the government has done virtually nothing on climate change and renewable energy but stall and cut back programs.”
ATA energy projects and policy manager Damien Moyse on 9631 5417/0439 900 692.