House Tablet

Find The Best Solar Deals In Australia

  • 3 Free, No Obligation, Solar Quotes
  • From Fully Qualified Installers
  • With 1000’s of Customer Reviews
  • Competing for Your Business
Finn Peacock Caricature

Check Your Postcode for local solar power quotes

The Tongans know a bad solar deal when they see one

3rd Sep 2013

There's plenty of talk in Australia about how the government is using solar power as a thinly veiled attempt to indulge the whims of the Greens and eco-minded residents, but that's also part of the problem.

It's just talk.

Maybe we can learn a thing or two from the Tongan civil society groups who are lambasting their government and calling officials out for failing to make good on a promise.

It all started when the government told residents on the country's largest island, Tongatapu, that after building a solar power farm, lower electricity rates would be felt by all. So far, this has been nothing but a pipedream.

The solar panels are in and the facility has been generating power for months, but residents are still waiting for the lower electricity rates they were promised.

Sound familiar?

"They (the government) have promised it's going to go down but it doesn't seem to be that way," Pelenatita Kara, the Civil Society Forum spokeswoman, told Pacific Beat.

To make matters worse, the Aussie government has been peculiarly silent on why exactly the Tongans are still paying high electricity rates.

"There hasn't been an official statement on why these things have not been done," Ms Kara added.

A noble goal, but little support

Let's give the Tongans a hand for trying, though. Back in 2010, the country's government announced it hoped to significantly lower its dependence on foreign power.

This, combined with one of the most ambitious renewable energy goals anywhere in the world - 50 per cent by 2020 - was a clear indication that Tonga saw major potential in solar power.

The problem, Ms Kara said, is that the solar panels are not generating enough electricity to increase supply enough for prices to come down.

There are similar gripes in Australia, but you likely won't hear about them in the media, while government releases will often spin the message so it's a little more pleasing to the ear. But that can't hide that fact that even residents who install rooftop solar panels aren't seeing the savings they'd expect.

Basically, the cost of receiving power from utilities, which have undoubtedly been snuggling up close to government officials, has risen to make up for the losses these companies have incurred because of solar feed-in tariffs and other incentives.

In the end, the utilities still take home the big bucks, and eco- and business-minded residents are left with still-rising energy bills.

Posted by Bob Dawson

Solar Power News Categories

Government Rebate & Regulations
Solar Power & Technology

More Government Rebate & Regulations

The election that could cast a deep shadow on solar power
This just in: You are nothing but a means to profit for big utilities and NSW government
The Tongans know a bad solar deal when they see one
Solar feed-in tariffs: Who's getting screwed?
Australian government at a solar power crossroads
WA government admits fault in solar rebate debacle
WA Government saves millions while solar customers are up in arms
SA's solar feed-in scheme costs to rise higher
CEC slams FIT deregulation in SA
Carbon tax announcement 'just a ripple'
Industry reactions to Rudd carbon price changes
New government 'must be made aware of renewable achievements'
Solar features prominently in ARENA funding plans
Calling all solar panel installers - 'save clean technology grants'
Manufacturers set to see bright side of economic slump?
Coalition government 'could spell bad news for solar'
'Not FIT for purpose' - ACT government on tariffs
QLD government under fire for negative solar stance
China's first trading emissions scheme begins
Details of the Queensland solar controversy
Solar panel reprieve for Queensland
Tasmania's solar future no longer too uncertain
Renewable energy funding on the brink
The Clean Energy Council calls for more renewables
Reactions to renewable energy decisions from the 2013-14 federal budget
Federal budget announcement offers a mixed bag
The impact of the carbon tax
Govt energy efficiency success
Renewable Energy Target achievements
New funding for solar panels
Australia and China further carbon cutting collaboration
Examining Australia's environmental efforts
Renewable Energy Target survives its review
Solar powered cinema a possibility
New licensing will make it easier for solar installers to work across states
Renewable recommendations for WA
Renewable energy target hangs in the balance
Deadline approaching for QLD PV installations under 44 cent solar tariff
Electricity emissions down since carbon tax introduced
Reactions to RET review final report mixed
CCA: RET on track to achieve goals
Experts slam Solar Credits decision
Government support 'needed for commercial solar development'
Shadow ministers slam ARENA withdrawal
Industry expert lauds solar PV impact
Australian Solar Council chief hits back at CCA review suggestion
Australian Solar Council debuts solar electorate map
CCA report 'victory for common sense'
Productivity Commission draft 'good for solar'
SA solar campaign reaches government level