More budget woes for WA solar scheme29th Dec 2011
The Western Australia government continues to face challenges with its solar panel rebate scheme, after a mid-year economic review by the state treasurer saw additional funds allocated due to the initiative running over budget.
At least $46 million has been set aside in additional funds over the next three years, despite a cap being placed on the program earlier this year.
The estimated cost of the scheme was to be $28.2 million, but increasing popularity and material costs caused this to rise almost $120 million - now with mid-year review, this cost has reached $180 million.
While the state government will pay for the majority of the excess costs, energy provider Synergy will also contribute $20 million.
The popularity of the feed-in tariff scheme - which was introduced in 2009 - has far exceeded the Barnett government's expectations, with more than 76,000 households signing up.
Originally offering a rebate of 40 cents per kilowatt hour to households feeding the energy produced by their rooftop solar panel systems back into the grid, a cap of 150 megawatts was forced to be implemented on June 30, while the rebate was also halved to 20 cents.
Treasurer Christian Porter has ordered an audit into the scheme to determine whether any of the applications received between May 21 - when the cap was announced - and June 30 were incorrectly approved.
"The suspicion that we have in Treasury is that there are applications that said they met the requirements, but didn't," he told WA Today (December 29).
"There's been a cost overrun, there clearly has been ... but the money is not wasted, the money has been spent delivering clean electricity and incentivising the product of photovoltaics."
The news comes at a time when an increasing number of households in Western Australia are struggling to pay for electricity.
It was revealed last month that more than 50 residents each day applied for assistance from the government through the Hardship Utility Grant Scheme (HUGS).
The HUGS incentive saw more than 8,100 customers credited with up to 85 per cent of their utility bill in the 2010-11 financial year.
Electricity prices in WA have experienced an increase of 57 per cent since 2009.
Posted by Bob Dawson - News editor
Solar Power News CategoriesGovernment Rebate & Regulations
Solar Power & Technology
More Government Rebate & RegulationsReactions to renewable energy decisions from the 2013-14 federal budget
Federal budget announcement offers a mixed bag
The impact of the carbon tax
Govt energy efficiency success
Renewable Energy Target achievements
New funding for solar panels
Australia and China further carbon cutting collaboration
Examining Australia's environmental efforts
Renewable Energy Target survives its review
Solar powered cinema a possibility
New licensing will make it easier for solar installers to work across states
Renewable recommendations for WA
Renewable energy target hangs in the balance
Deadline approaching for QLD PV installations under 44 cent solar tariff
Electricity emissions down since carbon tax introduced
Reactions to RET review final report mixed
CCA: RET on track to achieve goals
Experts slam Solar Credits decision
Government support 'needed for commercial solar development'
Shadow ministers slam ARENA withdrawal
Industry expert lauds solar PV impact
Australian Solar Council chief hits back at CCA review suggestion
Australian Solar Council debuts solar electorate map
CCA report 'victory for common sense'
Productivity Commission draft 'good for solar'
SA solar campaign reaches government level
Solar power development relying on Obama win?
'Speed essential' for clean energy grants review
Government slammed over grants withdrawal
Solar power 'central to NSW sustainable aims'
Victoria "throwing in the towel" on FIT scheme
Solar expert blasts Victoria FIT decision
European commissioner full of praise for carbon deal
Carbon tax floor price plans scrapped
Prime minister supports solar power drive
Liberal Party: Ditching carbon tax could take 12 months
Australians 'supportive' of renewable energy
Victoria 'has potential' to be solar power hub
Are companies aware of carbon tax implications?
Gov't aims to make energy easy
Don't jump solar ships, warns CEC
Victorian gov't urged to reform energy sector
Renewable Energy Target 'needs to stay'
Queensland sees last-minute surge for solar
It could pay for developers to consider solar panel installations in Sydney
Don't be caught out by the carbon tax
Solar power rebate cut to impact Queensland jobs
Changes made to Queensland's Solar Bonus Scheme
QLD: Solar scheme should be privately funded
Proposals shortlisted for ACT solar auction