WA government gives ground on solar energy purchase agreements

Perth skyline

It is now a lot easier for for WA and Perth Solar Installers to sell Power Purchase Agreements (or PPAs)

It’s not often that the Clean Energy Council and a conservative government agree on funding for solar energy purchase agreements but this week appears to have achieved that very scenario. For the West Australian government — that bastion of conservatism west of Adelaide — has introduced a scheme which will make it easier for customers to access solar energy.

The key is the removal of certain restrictions on solar power purchase agreements (PPAs), said Clean Energy Council WA Manager Dermot Costello. He added that the proposed change could help households and businesses make an informed choice about benefit from solar power, according to a CEC press release.

“Consumers can currently choose between buying their solar panels outright, leasing a system from a solar company, or a solar PPA. The best option really depends on people’s different individual circumstances,” Mr Costello said.

“Under a solar PPA, a solar company typically installs the solar panels on your roof and charges you a reduced rate for your electricity.

“This draft government proposal announced yesterday would remove the red tape associated with solar PPAs and make the process easier for both solar businesses and consumers. This is something the Clean Energy Council has argued strongly for, and we are very glad the government has listened.”

So does the apparent rapprochement between the Clean Energy Council and the WA government signal a way forward for the Australian solar energy sector? Certainly there are moves in WA to embrace renewable technology and reducing red tape for funding for solar energy purchases will play an important role.

One example of the march forward for renewables in WA is the White Gum Valley residential development. A radical new design, the WGV utilises innovative renewable technologies — such as solar power and battery storage — as part of a four year research project conducted by the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living and Curtin University as a way of improving efficiencies in renewable energy for residential complexes.

If this model is successful will we see residential complexes along the lines of the WGV rolled out across this vast state? Certainly if that is the case, solar energy purchase agreements will play an important role in financing such developments.

So is the CEC right to be excited over the move by the West Australian government to increase access to solar energy purchase agreements? Or is it a case of one step forward and two (inevitable) steps back? We look forward to hearing your views.

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