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NSW Tariff Review

Posted by admin on October 21st, 2010

The NSW Government announced that as installations under the Solar Bonus feed-in tariff scheme have reached the 50MW total capacity trigger, a review will now be undertaken into the scheme’s performance. There are currently about 30,000 participants in the scheme, which began in January 2010.

Any changes suggested to major features of the scheme (such as the scheme’s period and the tariff rate) would require legislative amendment. Those currently participating in the scheme will not be affected by any changes. Submissions are invited by 30th September 2010.

In a recent media release The Hon. Paul Lynch MP commented on the review saying the Solar Bonus Scheme was established in January to encourage renewable energy, build green jobs and promote renewable energy technology. He said there had been a rapid uptake of the NSW Scheme with about 30,000 households now being paid to feed renewable energy into the electricity grid.

“This is the right time to evaluate the Scheme against its objectives and identify how it can continue meeting the community’s needs,” Mr Lynch said.

Public submissions will be received before 30th September, with the review to be tabled in Parliament towards the end of the next session of Parliament. Mr Lynch said the review by NSW Industry and Investment would look at a range of issues relevant to the Scheme’s objectives.

Under the legislation, a further review must be undertaken by the Attorney-General early next year. Mr Lynch said the important terms of the Scheme, such as its length and tariff rate, were locked into legislation.

“If any changes are to be proposed, the legislation would need to be amended and we are on the record stating that any changes would not be applied retrospectively,” Mr Lynch said. “That means no customers who have already entered the Scheme will be affected by the review,” he said.

Submissions can be emailed to solarbonus.review@industry.nsw.gov.au This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or posted to Solar Bonus Review, Industry and Investment NSW, Level 17, 227 Elizabeth Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000 by the close of business September 30, 2010.

S.A. Feed-in Tariff Reviews

Posted by admin on October 21st, 2010

South Australian households and small customers with solar energy panels will soon be getting a guaranteed extra 10 cents for each kilowatt-hour of electricity they feed into the grid.

Currently, South Australia’s nation-leading feed-in laws guarantees a bonus of 44 cents per kilowatt-hour of excess electricity fed back into the grid from household solar panels.

Premier and Minister for Sustainability and Climate Change, Mike Rann, today announced the State government intends introducing legislation to increase the bonus to 54 cents per kilowatt hour.

In a keynote address on South Australia’s Leadership within a Carbon Constrained Economy, Mr Rann said the extra 10 cents was not the only benefit available to South Australians who invest in solar energy.

“In addition, retail electricity providers will be obligated to pay a cost for the power they receive from residents who feed power into the grid via their solar panels.

This will be in addition to the 54 cents and could well bring the bonus up to around 60 cents per kilowatt hour.”

“The Government believes that South Australians that choose to invest in solar energy deserve to be paid a fair price for the power they contribute to the network. Our amended scheme will ensure this happens.”

The payment by electricity retail companies will be at least as generous as that paid in the other States. This includes NSW which provides a higher payout but over 7 years, compared with South Australia’s 20 years.

The Government has also accepted recommendations from the review to restrict eligibility so that the feed-in benefit can be made available to as many consumers as possible.

Mr Rann says those intending to install solar panels to take advantage of the new scheme will be subject to new eligibility criteria including:

  • a limit of one generator per customer.
  • the exclusion of additional generators installed specifically to create a profit from the scheme.
  • the bonus will be limited to the first 45 kilowatt-hours per day – this limit will not affect normal residential systems (i.e. those less than 7 kilowatts).
When total installed capacity reaches 60 megawatts (expected to be around the end of next year) the scheme will be closed to new entrants.
This limit compares with the closure threshold of 100 megawatts for Victoria, a State with more than three times the population of South Australia, is the only State to have a determined limit.
South Australia’s feed-in scheme – the first of its type in the country – began 1st of July 2008 and since then the number of solar customers has risen to more than 18,000 and the combined total capacity of installed systems has exceeded 25 megawatts.
The recent review of the feed-in scheme was undertaken by an independent consultant and included discussions with major stakeholders and consideration of the 175 submissions received from a broad cross-section of the community.
Further information on the amended scheme, eligibility criteria and the consultant’s report is available at www.climatechange.sa.gov.au.

Victorian Smart Meters to Save 5 Billion

Posted by admin on October 21st, 2010

The Brumby Government’s troubled $2 billion smart meter rollout has been given a ringing endorsement by an independent economic analysis, which found it to be “cost effective no matter which mix of costs and benefits are used.”

The Oakley Greenwood report, to be released today, found that the benefit of rolling out the smart meters would be between $1.87 billion and $3.51 billion over 20 years and that when combined with additional demand management services the benefits would be between $2.58 billion and $5 billion over the same period.

The report found that the cost over a 20 year period of installing 2.5 million smart meters in Victorian homes would be up to $2 billion (with additional services) compared with continuing to operate current manual meters for a cost of $1.5 billion.

Energy Minister Peter Bachelor told The Age that a moratorium on time-of-use pricing, which charges households more during peak times, would remain until the end of the current trials.

Digital smart meters are being installed to encourage households to cut energy use and shift to off-peak usage when power is cheaper to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: Peak Energy.

Does Solar Impact Home Value

Posted by admin on October 21st, 2010

Let’s be honest – in our current economic climate, undertaking extensive home renovation projects is probably not on the top of your list. Consider holding the new fireplace or the underground swimming pool project for another year in favour of one home improvement that will not only drastically increase your property value, but also helps you sell your home faster.

Why does solar increase your home value?

Imagine that your electricity was going to get more expensive and your utility would raise its rates at any given time. Imagine that national demand for that expensive electricity was going to keep growing, and had already grown 25% since 1990. Finally, imagine that generating this traditional, expensive electricity was creating pollution and hurting the environment.

You’re not imagining. The above are all realities that explain why solar homes sell faster, and for more money. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, a solar home will sell twice as quickly as a home without solar.

Here are some take-home points:

  1. Homes with lower electricity bills sell faster.
  2. Energy saving improvements increase the potential resale value of a property.
  3. Value of a solar system increases over time as electricity prices increase.

Additional Rebate for Solar Power

Posted by admin on October 21st, 2010

Gascoyne residents are being encouraged to take up an offer of an additional rebate when they install solar power technology.

Both Federal and State governments offer cash rebates to householders that install photovoltaic systems that feed excess energy back in to the power grid.

The Gascoyne Development Commission is now offering a further 15 per cent discount on the capital costs of installing solar technology.

The commission’s Toni Hibbert says people can save thousands of dollars with all three rebates combined.

“In the capital costs with renewable energy rebates and solar credits you are probably looking at a reduction of almost 50 per cent of what your capital cost would be,” Hibbert said.

“And then you’re obviously going to get the reward of the rebate once you are connected.”

Source: ABC News.

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