A Better Solar Feed-In Tariff For Tasmania Soon(ish)?

Solar feed in tariffs in Tasmania

Image: sdblack0

The Liberals have been returned to power in Tasmania – and the party has previously stated it wants to boost the uptake of small scale solar energy systems in the state.

The solar feed in tariff in Tasmania is currently a whisker over 8.9c per kilowatt hour for electricity exported to the mains grid.

One of the Hodgman Government’s energy-related election commitments was to “review and reshape” (PDF) the FiT in order to incentivise further installations and “suitably reward” those with systems already installed. The review will be conducted in the next 6 months and new arrangements implemented by January next year.

The review process will no doubt be watched closely by Tasmanians who installed solar panels prior to September 2013. Those lucky folks were grandfathered under a 1:1 rate (around 28c), which ends on December 31 this year. However, one of the catches of keeping that rate is that they haven’t been able to upgrade their systems.

Up until 2013, a popular system size was 1.5kW due to the way Australia’s major solar subsidy at the time was structured. These days, 5kW solar systems are the most common size for homes. SolarQuotes’ auSSII report covering January indicated 68% of Tasmanians submitting for a solar quote who specified a system size were wanting pricing on a 5kW array. There were zero requests for pricing on 1.5 and 2kW systems.

The end of the grandfathered 1:1 feed in tariff rate could see significant system upgrade activity in Tasmania as solar owners look to getting more from their valuable rooftop real estate. According to the most recent data available from Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator, 31,107 small scale (<100kW) solar power systems are installed across Tasmania.

Tasmanians without systems interested in going solar but who are finding funding the acquisition a challenge may want to take a look at the Tasmanian Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme (TEELS). It provides 36-month interest free loans for items including solar panels and/or battery storage. There’s no indication funding has run out yet, but the scheme closes in May this year.

Other Liberal Solar Commitments

Aside from the feed-in tariff review, the Liberal Government has also committed to:

  • Delivering a $300,000 Community Solar and Energy Efficiency Package that will benefit 18 community groups and clubs around Tasmania.
  • Investing $200,000 towards establishing a solar powered micro-grid pilot in the village of Nubeena on the Apple Isle’s west coast.
  • A $6.25 million energy package for farmers, including assistance to install solar power through the Agri-Growth Concession loan scheme

The Hodgman Government has set a goal of Tasmania having the lowest regulated electricity prices in Australia and to become 100 per cent energy self-sufficient by 2022.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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