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Victoria announces replacement for feed-in tariff

2nd Sep 2011

The Victorian government has announced a new Transitional Feed-in Tariff (TFIT) available to consumers who choose to install rooftop solar panels in their home or business.

The new TFIT rate has been set at 25 cents per kilowatt hour for excess electricity that is fed into the grid via household solar power systems and will be available for five years.

Talk of a change to the existing system has been circling for the last few weeks as the Premium Feed-In Tariff (PFIT) neared its 100 megawatts capacity.

Minister for energy and resources Michael O'Brien says: "The new TFIT scheme will provide a fair price to households feeding solar power back into the grid while also supporting the solar panel installation industry while the VCEC review is conducted."

The TFIT is designed to keep encouraging households to install solar panel systems whilst a review into the future of feed-in tariffs is undertaken by the Victorian Competition and Energy Commission (VCEC).

Currently, the VCEC review has been scheduled to commence later this year, with the report due in the second half of 2012.

The Victorian government has said it views renewable energy as a key strategy that needs to be maintained in order to meet its emissions reduction targets.

O’Brien says: "Unlike many other states, which have closed down all feed-in tariff schemes, Victoria's TFIT will provide a fairer, more sustainable approach which reduces the boom-bust cycle for the industry."

Feed-in tariffs have proven a viable incentive for everyday consumers, as they help subsidise the cost of purchasing and installing equipment.

"The new scheme will still mean people investing in rooftop solar systems will have an average payback period of less than ten years, about the same as forecast when the PFIT scheme was first introduced," says O'Brien.

Consumers will be able to take advantage of the new scheme from January 1, 2012.

Eligibility is currently set for solar photovoltaic systems of five kilowatts or less.

For consumers still wondering about the status of their application for the existing PFIT, O'Brien says: "People who have already paid a deposit or are already having solar systems installed must make sure all the required paperwork has been submitted before September 30."

The minister urges anyone currently waiting on their supplier for the paperwork needed to be accepted into the scheme to chase them up to ensure they don't miss out.

- Mike Peacock: Solar Correspondent

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