Tasmania's solar future no longer too uncertain

31st May 2013

Recently the future of Tasmania's solar feed-in tariffs and incentives have been called into question, as the state government moves to privatise its electricity retail from January 1, 2014.

Residents and solar enthusiasts have been concerned that this would signal the end of feed-in tariffs for rooftop solar panels and other renewable energy technologies, undermining previous investments and weakening the motivation for others.

However the Tasmanian government recently released an issues paper abating this fear in order to provide confidence to consumers and the industry as it moves into privatisation.

Kane Thornton, Clean Energy Council (CEC) deputy chief executive expressed his encouragement for this move by the government in recognising the need for fairness for both consumers and the industry.

"The Clean Energy Council has been calling for the Tasmanian Government to provide the Tasmanian solar sector with certainty on the future of the feed-in tariff, and we are hopeful this process will do that as quickly as possible," he said.

Tasmania's issues paper proposed that all existing solar customers, as well as new ones, who are eligible for the solar power feed-in tariff by January 1 should continue to be paid the current rate until January 1 2017.

Those who install solar after January 1 2014 will be paid a lower rate for their solar electricity at a yet to be determined price.

"It's good to see the Tasmanian Government commit to some continuation of the current solar tariff in recognition of the investments customers have made in solar power to date, and to also recognise the importance of clear transitional arrangements for the industry and solar customers into the future," said Mr Thornton.

Mr Thornton also pointed out that solar power is becoming increasingly attractive for Tasmanians as conventional electricity prices rise while the price of solar power systems reduces.

Recently Solar Citizens – a solar power support collective – have been campaigning to make sure that Tasmania's solar and renewable incentives don't go anywhere.

They state that 10,000 households in Tasmania have already installed solar PV systems, and losing tariffs and incentives would undermine their investment in sustainability.

Tasmania has the physical resources, such as sun and land, to be a renewable energy powerhouse, creating employment, diversifying electricity generation, reducing transmission losses, and setting an example as a positive role model for sustainable living.

Posted by Bob Dawson

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