ACT announces improved Feed In Tariff

The ACT government made a welcome announcement about their, already generous, Feed In Tariff, last week.

The main points were:

The FIT now applies to “community owned” solar systems. That means that if your roof is shaded and you want to club together with others in the same position and install a system on the local RSL (for example) there is nothing to stop you getting the FIT and sharing the rewards.

Or if you live in units, you can get a shared system on the roof of the unit block.

The Feed In Tariff will be applicable for systems up to a whopping 30kW, so it becomes quite an interesting investment proposition in today’s volatile market. ( This solar calculator will crunch the numbers if you’re interested).

They also announced FITs for large scale solar. here are the details:

  • An overall scheme cap of 240 MW of generating capacity;
  • Large scale generation category for generators larger than 200 KW (category cap of 210 MW);
  • Medium scale generation category for generators between 30KW and 200kw (category cap of 15 MW); and,
  • Existing micro generation category (household rooftop) up to 30KW (category cap of 15 MW).

Some of the funding has come from the axing of plans to fund a $30 “Solar Facility” in ACT (whatever that was meant to be – probably was gonna be a bunch of public servants running around and racking up platinum frquent flyer accounts writing reports and attending conferences on how to reduce CO2 emissions – if my experience at CSIRO was anything to go by…)

In summary – great news from the land of the public servants – now we just need Julia Gillard to make all their legislation redundant by announcing a national FIT … we can but hope.

Huge Subsidies (and waiting lists) for Solar Hot Water in QLD

The Queensland Solar Hot Water program is delivering and installing $500 systems for eligible Queenslanders and $100 for pensioners. But as you might expect, there is the mother of all waiting lists.

To date more than 850 customers have been allocated to suppliers to conduct inspections and install new systems.

By the end of this week over 110 systems will have been installed in Brisbane and a further 200 have been contacted to arrange site inspections.

More than 43,000 Queenslanders have registered their interest to participate in this program with more than 10,000 completed applications received so far.”

[Read more…]

NSW Feed In Tariff Surprise: It’s Gross (in a good way!)

Yesterday the NSW Government surprised renewable energy fans by switching the new feed in tariff from a net to a gross tariff.

This means that owners of solar systems in NSW will now get 60c per kwh for all the electricity they generate.

Previously you were only going to get paid for the power exported to the grid (i.e not the power you used in your house)

This makes a huge difference to the economics of buying a solar power system in NSW.

Plugging the numbers into my solar calculator shows that a good quality 1.5kW system will pay for itself in just over 4 years.

In fact you’ll be getting around $120 per month of income from the outset. And the benefits will only go up as electricity prices rise.

Even if you take out a $7000 loan at 7% interest the system would be cash flow positive from the outset. See for yourself here.

That’s a better return, and much lower risk than most other investments these days.

Have a play with our solar calculators to see if it makes financial sense for you. Just put ‘Feed In Tariff %’ as 100% and ‘Feed In Tariff Price’ as 60c and the calculator will work out the payback and monthly savings.

Solar Panel Scheme : terminated and to cost taxpayers $440 million

Since 2000, the the Solar Homes and Communities Plan started out as the Photovoltaic Rebate Program offering $4,000. The program was changed in 2007 and was receiving by then an average 153 applications per week.

As part of the Rudd Government’s election commitments, the program was allocated $150 million to provide increased rebates of up to $8,000 to 15,000 homes over five years.

The number of applications for the rebate grew from 420 per week in May 2008 to approximately 6,043 per week in May 2009. [Read more…]

Pollies Agree on Something Shock! Solar Credits almost ready to go…

“Solar Credits” is the name given to the Australian government’s latest solar subsidy for homeowners, businesses and community groups. It was passed into law on 20th August 2009.

Now we are just waiting for the process by which solar buyers can actually apply and receive the solar rebate to be finalised. This has been promised by the 2nd week of September. Once the process for actually applying for, and getting your rebate has been decided by the Canberra bureaucrats people will actually be able to start getting their cash back  for solar systems bought after June 10th 2009.

Solar Credits subsides the cost of installing a Solar Power System and unlike the scheme before it (which was means-tested at a household income of $100,000) this subsidy is not means tested in any way.

It is the latest in a long list of different schemes, which seem to change more often then Kevin Rudd changes his underdaks.

It is currently worth about $5000 on a 1.5kW system. Which means you can get a 1.5kW system for an out-of-pocket cost of approx $4-$7K.

Solar Credits May Become Law This Week?!?

Newsflash! The government appear to have seen some sense and have decoupled the solar rebate legislation from the monster of an ETS bill that every pollie and his dog is arguing over.

Basically this means that the Solar Credits bill may get passed by the 21 Aug 2009 which will mean the the new solar rebate described here will be up and running again in a matter of days IF and it’s a bit IF…the pollies can bring themselves to vote for it. At least now the Libs, Greens etc. can vote for it without having to agree to the Emissions Trading Scheme bondoggle as part of the package. Keep your fingers crossed!

Victorian Feed In Tariff is a Joke

The Victorian parliament is set to vote in the new feed-in tariff laws as early as Wednesday. The proposition of this legislation has angered a great deal of green campaigners and supporters of renewable energy.

[Read more…]

Get Your Government Grants for Solar Energy

There has never been a better time for an Australian household to switch to solar energy. In an effort to promote renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions the Government has devised a system of grants and rebates to help you save money on your bills by making your home more cost effective and at the same time environmentally friendly.

Rebates and grants of $500 to $8000 are available according to your particular situation. These are primarily for solar heated hot water systems. To find out if you qualify then contact your local authority or the Australian Government website through the link below.

[Read more…]

What on Earth are Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)?

When you buy a solar system in Australia you can apply for 2 upfront subsidies from the government:

(note: this all changes on July 1, 2009: read about the rebate changes here)

1. The $8000 rebate (for the 1st kW) assuming your household income is under $100k

2.Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)- works out at $600-$1200 per kW (the price changes over time)

The concept of the rebate is easy to understand – it is simply a handout from Mr Rudd to encourage solar power (can’t argue with that!).

The concept of RECs can be a bugger to get your head around. So here is my attempt at an explanation:

[Read more…]