Is WA’s Support of Solar Utilities at the Expense of Domestic Projects?

When we think of Western Australia we generally consider mining booms, expanded gas projects, black swans and the West Coast Eagles football team (and Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh for those of us with age on our side).

But as an Australian leader in solar technology? After a recent government decision to close down its solar feed in tariff scheme because of its (wait for it) popularity, the expected answer would generally be no. However recent developments in the West have shown government-owned corporations partnering up with the private sector to lead the state down the path of potentially being one of the country’s leading exponents of renewable energy.

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Japan Looks to Renewables in Wake of Nuclear Disaster

By Rich Bowden

All eyes are on the Land of the Rising Sun as the country, still reeling from the effects of the March 11 Fukushima nuclear disaster, looks to build a renewable energy future to reshape its energy needs.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan (soon to be former Prime Minister Naoto Kan) has, in the time-honoured Japanese way, offered his resignation in the wake of criticism of his handling of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, but not before he shepherds through vital legislation through the Diet (Parliament).

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China Plan To Whip Australia’s Ass in Domestic Solar Investment

Whilst many Australian state governments dither over the solar feed-in-tariff (FIT) issue, China has come charging out of the changing sheds recently with a brand new, highly-polished, national feed-in-tariff system.

They are kicking the world’s ass when it comes to high value manufacturing (where was your iPad made?) and now it looks like they are serious about installing solar power domestically. [Read more…]

What Odds a Clean Energy Future for Australia?

By Rich Bowden

Two points of interest for SolarQuotes readers raised by the federal government this week over the future of energy in this country, one by the embattled PM and the other by her Climate Change Minister (and some would say a possible successor) Greg Combet.

It was the PM who got the solar ball rolling this week when she visited a blustery Gunning, ACT wind farm (minus the ubiquitous hard hat for once) to open the venture, an enterprise financially backed by Spanish sustainable energy company ACCIONA. [Read more…]

Big Solar in Box Seat After Carbon Tax Announcement

This week’s big ticket news item for the solar industry and its consumers was the fillip given to the sector by the federal government’s long-awaited carbon tax announcement.

While there is some debate over whether or not the carbon price announced last weekend will go far enough to achieve its primary purpose (i.e. significantly decrease the level of carbon emissions in Australia) there appears to be little doubt that the renewable energy incentives attached to the legislation will go a long way towards rejuvenating the renewables sector, particularly solar energy.

“Solar on steroids” was how John Grimes, chief executive of the AustralianSolarEnergySociety (AuSES) described the Clean Energy Future announcement, adding that the solar industry was the real winner to emerge from the package. He focused on the earmarking of $10 billion, half of which will be made available for the renewable sector from a new investment bank, hailing it as a major step forward. [Read more…]

Uncertainty for SA Solar Industry as Parliament Rejects Feed-in Tariff Increase

By Rich Bowden

South Australian investors in rooftop solar energy have been left shaking their heads after events in the state capital this week saw the solar feed-in tariff retained at 44c instead of the promised increase to 54c.

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Solar Subsidies : Let’s get the facts straight

Despite running a popular Solar Power website, whose revenue is seriously helped by generous Federal and State solar subsidies, it may surprise you to learn that I’m not a huge fan of government subsidy in any shape or form. Mainly because I have worked for the government and seen how inefficient they really are. Trust me it is frightening.

I would be happy for the Feds to completely scrap their solar subsidy, called Solar Credits, and let the economics of small scale solar stand on its own merit through innovative finance schemes designed by innovative Solar Installers. [Read more…]

What to Really Expect at the Second NSW Solar Summit

By Rich Bowden

This week’s announcement by NSW Energy Minister Chris Hartcher that the Second NSW Solar Summit, to be held in Newcastle on July 1, will provide a “…key pathway to managing the development of the renewable energy industry in a consistent and sustainable manner,” brought a smile to my face.

Solar Muppet
For wasn’t it the same Honourable Member who, as part of his newly-elected government’s “slash and burn” approach to the solar industry, unilaterally declared he would decrease the solar bonus feed-in tariff retrospectively from 60c per kilowatt hour to 40c? Opposition from solar customers, the solar industry, the public and even from the NSW Government’s own backbench ultimately forced a stubborn Mr Hartcher to reinstate the original offer, negotiated under the previous Labor Government.

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Push to Make Electricity Retailers Pay as NSW Coalition Continue Solar Spin Cycle

The issue of solar energy, and more importantly the backflip on the Solar Bonus Scheme continues to dominate debate in the NSW Parliament “bearpit”. Heroic efforts by the Coalition to contain fallout are matched only by attempts by certain Liberals to accept credit for the turnaround.

Meanwhile injecting a new angle into the sorry NSW solar debate, NSW Greens MP Dr John Kaye has led his party’s endorsement of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s (IPART) recommendation that NSW electricity retailers pay the full cost of the solar power they receive. [Read more…]

NSW Pollies Back Down On Daft Retrospective Solar Feed In Tariff Legislation

By Rich Bowden

The NSW Government’s decision to reinstate the solar fund feed-in tariff to 60c per kilowatt hour has come in reaction to bitter criticism, not just from solar investors and the solar industry but all sides of politics. Opponents of the decision to reduce the compensation to 40c have emerged, not just in the wider community of NSW, but also within the ranks of the NSW Liberal party.

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