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SA feed-in tariff shift nears

22nd Aug 2011

South Australia's feed-in tariff is set to change conditions, with the September 30 deadline approaching for residents wanting to receive financial benefits for installing solar panel systems in the home.

Currently the SA government has an arrangement in place for consumers who order their solar power system by September 30 2011 and have it fully installed within 120 days of that date.

Benefits include a rate of 44 cents per kilowatt hour of energy exported to the grid.

This rate will be locked in until June 30 2028, meaning households can benefit from reduced energy bills well into the future.

However, after the September 30 deadline, the rate paid is expected to be lowered to 16 cents per kilowatt until September 2016.

The reduced rate is expected to cause a rush of installations as customers move quickly to take advantage of the current benefits.

South Australia's feed-in tariff has proved popular since its introduction in August 2010 and is about to enter the second stage out of four - which includes the reduced payment rate for consumers.

Current there is no planned feed-in tariff scheme planned beyond October 2013, meaning that consumers have a limited time to install a solar power system in the home that will deliver financial benefits for the future.

Solar incentives have proven popular around Australia, with different states either imposing date deadlines or energy capacity limits to determine when to end or transition the programs into their next stage.

The state of Victoria has set a maximum capacity of 100 megawatts and is currently closing in on that limit, with industry commentators believing the government will close it sometime in August or September 2011.

The Australian Capital Territory recently re-opened its feed-in scheme and expanded eligibility for small-sized solar panel systems.

With an overwhelming response, the capacity was reached in less than 48 hours, highlighting the public's readiness to move towards renewable energy.

NSW state government is currently investigating the rate it should set for future tariffs after commissioning a report by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of New South Wales.

The findings are scheduled to be released in April 2012, with thousands of everyday Australians eager to discover how they will benefit by installing systems on the rooftops of their homes.

Solar panels have proved popular in regular homes as they can be easily installed on existing roof space eliminating the need to clear areas - something that is found with other energy saving measures such as water tanks.

By: Mike Peacock - Solar Correspondent

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