Solar panel reprieve for Queensland

5th Jun 2013

Solar power users in Queensland will be breathing a sigh of relief with the Queensland Competition Authority's (QCA) final determination on electricity prices.

While previously considering levying an extra charge onto solar power users, the QCA has thankfully now moved away from this idea, and while notified electricity costs for consumers will increase in 2013-14 due to the underlying supply costs, there will be no specific charge to solar power.

Clean Energy Council chief executive David Green has congratulated the QCA's decision saying it's fantastic news for the 750,000 Queenslanders living in a solar panel powered household.

Queensland is the state with the highest levels of solar panel concentration across the country.

Mr Green asserted that in the end, the QCA's comprehensive analysis of power price rises in Queensland has made it clear that renewable energy is a much smaller contributor to electricity bills than most other factors.

He noted that the QCA confirmed the cost of Australia's 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target and the Solar Bonus Scheme makes up approximately seven per cent of power bills. By contrast, over 46 per cent of a bill goes towards electricity poles and wires.

"When anyone installs an air-conditioner it costs everyone an estimated $7000 to pay for network upgrades, which is reflected in this component of our bills. This is the real source of higher electricity prices and should be the focus of more attention, rather than on Queensland solar households who are simply trying to avoid higher bills."

Mr Green countered the claim that it's only the rich who reap the benefits of solar power, by pointing out the range of suburbs with high solar panel concentration. He commented solar power users are honest, hard-working people trying to do the right thing.

As well as this, he argued that the solar industry itself is all for responsibility.

"While there are costs associated with the Solar Bonus Scheme, the industry has always argued for incentives to be reduced responsibly in line with the falling cost of solar technology, and an orderly transition when feed-in tariffs are changed," said Mr Green.

Mr Green concluded that with the ever evolving and changing energy market, its complex issues need addressing in a constructive and collaborative way, which in the end will give consumers the best result.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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