Solar expert blasts Victoria FIT decision5th Sep 2012
Victoria's new feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme, which pays eight cents per kilowatt hour instead of 25 cents, has been confirmed - and one industry expert is not happy about the announcement.
Nigel Morris, director of Solar Business Services, has launched a scathing attack on the decision and, in particular, the state's energy minister Michael O'Brien for comments made regarding the change.
O'Brien, quoted on ABC News, said FITs are not driving the increasing growth and popularity seen in the solar industry - a remark Morris rubbished.
He said: "Take a look at your own statistics Minister O'Brien – and those of every other state back as far as history goes and look at what happens every time a subsidy is threatened or finishes. Sales plummet."
And he wasn't finished there. Nigel went on to describe the politician's words as "staggeringly ignorant or deceptive", going as far to say O'Brien's "ignorant smirk" when delivering the speech "made it all the more vindictive".
Discussing the reduction in the scheme, O'Brien said there was no need for FITs - as solar prices are plummeting and the cost of electricity is increasing, meaning the technology already sells itself.
Not only that, he added, but when the value of the FIT had been brought down previously (from its original lofty heights of 60 pence per kilowatt hour) it caused a 33 per cent rise in demand.
Nigel, however, is not convinced. He stated: "Duh. That's because everyone could see what was next and rushed in before the axes came out."
He admitted he was not surprised by the revelation, but "wholly disappointed" - noting that the 'announcement' had merely involved a quiet change to the Victorian Department of Primary Industry website.
It would also appear that homeowners wanting to take advantage of the old 25 cents rate may be out of luck, with only those who have already paid a deposit or are mid-way through the process of getting an installation being viable.
Even those who are eligible under these circumstances must make an application by September 30 2012 to count, with the new price coming into effect on December 31.
The rate reduction comes just a week after the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission released a report suggesting that the 25 cent FIT scheme should be closed to new customers this month.
This will make electricity prices more "fair and reasonable" across all consumers, the organisation argued.
Posted by Mike Peacock