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Consumers to lose out on solar power payments?

23rd May 2012

Earlier this week, we revealed the initial findings of a report from the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC) into how effective the state's feed-in tariffs are.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the criticisms of the report have started to flow in, with the Clean Energy Council (CEC) saying that the recommendations could see people losing out on money for generating solar electricity.

"We agree that as the cost of solar power continues to drop we should move beyond incentive based feed-in tariffs to a system where consumers are simply paid the fair value for their solar power," started CEC policy director Russell Marsh.

Of course, there is a but. The group believes that the reasonable value of solar is between 12 and 16 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity - a far cry from what the VCEC suggested.

Under the VCEC's recommendations, consumers would be guaranteed a payment of between six and eight cents for energy they supply back to the grid, which the CEC believes is simply not good enough.

"They would then need to negotiate an additional payment from electricity distribution businesses in recognition of the fact that distributed energy such as solar power allows for reduced expenditure on network poles and wires," Russell explained.

He indicated that it would be "virtually impossible" for people to get their hands on the additional money, which ultimately means they will miss out on half of the money they are entitled to.

So far, more than 100,000 homeowners throughout Victoria have recognised how valuable solar power is as a means of protecting themselves against the rising cost of power.

Any amendments to feed-in tariffs need to make sure that they are getting fair reward for their investment, rather than short-changing them for their decision to switch to renewable energy, the CEC emphasised.

Posted by Bob Dawson


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