WA solar feed-in tariff suspended1st Aug 2011
Following a growing trend in high take-up of renewable energy schemes, the Western Australian state government has suspended their residential feed-in tariff after it reached its maximum cap earlier than expected.
WA energy minister Peter Collier says that the scheme has proven wildly effective in giving homeowners a financial incentive to reduce their carbon footprint.
"The feed-in tariff scheme has been a great success - under the scheme, more than 65,000 homes will be generating their own renewable electricity which will add an extra 150 megawatts of renewable energy capacity to the grid," Mr Collier said.
Due to an upswing in popularity, the initial project budget was increased from $23 million to $127 million.
The government will accept applications post-marked prior to today (August 1) but will not admit any additional applications until it has re-assessed the incentive scheme's future.
It is expected that participants in the scheme will be able to pay off their solar panel system within ten years.
The state-run incentive scheme has been designed to allow residents to feed electricity generated by household solar power systems back into the grid.
By generating electricity for the grid, subscribers to the tariff scheme receive compensation on their energy costs.
In WA, utilities companies Synergy and Horizon Power buy excess electricity from households and businesses under the state government's Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme.
Feed-in tariffs are a popular government incentive to encourage the public and private sector to adopt renewable energy systems, along with solar credits schemes and a newly-proposed increased asset write-off threshold.
Collier attributes part of the scheme's popularity to the increased affordability of solar power units.
"Wholesale prices of renewable energy systems have halved in the past 12 months which has resulted in greater affordability and means customers will be able to recover the purchase cost of their systems much quicker," says Collier.
The announcement of the cap being quickly reached follows a pattern in other states where solar adoption is seeing a rapid boom.
In July the ACT feed-in tariff was reached after being open for only two days - surprising many in the solar sector.
The surge of applicants came after small-scale solar power systems were deemed eligible for the first time.
Queensland also reached its overall solar energy target an unexpected three years early.
The government has recently announced a string of initiatives as part of its push for renewable energy development - many which will benefit the solar power industry.
By: Mike Peacock - Solar Correspondent
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