Changes made to Queensland's Solar Bonus Scheme

27th Jun 2012

Queenslanders hoping to install solar panels on their homes with the help of the state's Solar Bonus Scheme will find the initiative takes quite a different form next month.

The changes will only impact new applications, so if you've already submitted your paperwork there's no need to worry!

Under the previous scheme, Queenslanders were rewarded 44 cents per kilowatt hour for renewable electricity they fed back to the grid – but this will soon no longer be the case.

This is, of course, unless you had your panels installed under the previous solar power rebate, in which case the 44 cents per kilowatt hour rate will still apply.

From July 10, a new feed-in tariff will be brought into action, offering owners of solar panels just eight cents per kilowatt hour.

Even the most mathematically challenged of us can realise that this is a significant reduction and one that the solar industry is less than impressed with.

The Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES) is one of the groups to air its concerns, suggesting that the decision sends out the wrong signal about renewable energy.

"Utilities must start paying the same rate for solar that customers pay for grid electricity.

"Solar is poised to compete on cost with fossil fuel generated power, so it is time governments priced solar power the same as fossil fuel power," AuSES commented.

Energy and water supply minister Mark McArdle tried to explain the government's position, saying that the way the current scheme is modelled means that it would cost every household $54 a year by 2014-15.

If the scheme remained unchanged then it could end up costing Queensland about $1.8 billion by 2028 – which the government believes is hardly sustainable at a time when finances need to be kept an eye on.

However, Mark was quick to defend solar power and suggested that even without the rebate, it still presents real opportunity for homeowners throughout Queensland.

"While consumers will still have to weigh up the costs and benefits, the government believes the replacement tariff will still make solar PV systems a viable proposition for many households," he noted.

In his eulogy for the current Solar Bonus Scheme, Mark revealed that solar PV capacity has risen from 3.2 megawatts in 2008 to more than 461 in the present day, while participant levels have risen from 1,200 to in excess of 180,000.

Posted by Bob Dawson


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