Tuesday, 14 September 2010 08:53

The ACT Government is overhauling its solar energy policies, dumping a plan to directly fund a solar energy farm.

The Government is now expanding its feed-in tariff to pay businesses and large scale generators to produce renewable energy.

The expansion will happen in two stages. The Government will first open the scheme to medium scale generators.

That means office blocks and shopping centres with panels on their roofs will be able to take advantage of the scheme.

The Government will then open up the scheme to commercial large scale generators.

Energy Minister Simon Corbell says that will provide the incentive for at least one large scale generator to set up in the ACT.

The overhaul means the Government will instead hold an auction to see which large scale company will get the right to generate energy first.

Mr Corbell says that should happen early next year and the Government will then make a decision about future auctions.

He says the new scheme could see several farms spring up in the Territory.

“This will provide for many megawatts of renewable energy generation to be deployed here in Canberra,” he said.

“It allows us to develop at least our first solar farm for the city and will create many hundreds of jobs and significant economic activity.”

Mr Corbell says Kowen Forest has also been ruled out as a possible location for a future solar facility. A site at Ingledene remains available.


ACT Greens Leader Meredith Hunter says the program will provide a good incentive to business and encourage it to establish more solar farms in the Territory.

“It puts it out to the market and it’s up to those companies to put forward what they think is the best way, the best technology, the best approach to be able to get the best price and also with the highest amount of generation,” she said.


The ACT Opposition has slammed the overhaul, saying it is condemning consumers to endless electricity price hikes.

Leader Zep Seselja says it is a recipe for inefficiency and higher electricity bills.

“What we had before was a promise for the Government to find the money through other savings to actually help fund a large scale efficient solar power station,” he said.

“What we’re going to have instead is a number of less efficient solar energy providers which will be subsidised by the taxpayer through their electricity bill.”

Source: ABC News.