According to the latest report by the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) the feed-in tariff rates in Australia’s Capital Territory (ACT) need to be reduced. The report proposes that the premium cash rate paid to generators of renewable energy – including those with home solar energy systems – should drop from 45.7c a kilowatt hour to 39c a kilowatt hour. Any changes made will only affect new market entrants who install after July 1, 2011, reports Energy Matters.
The report entitled, “Electricity Feed-in Renewable Energy Premium: Determination of Premium Rate 2011–12,” found that the total “payback” period on a solar power system has effectively been reduced by 25 to 50% since the last time the Commission was asked to look at the scheme back in March 2010. This change in payback period occurred as a result of a significant decline in the cost of solar panel manufacture and installation, along with a surge in the value of the Australian dollar over the last 12 months.
Recently, ACT Energy Minister Simon Corbell has suggested several changes to the ACT’s solar energy framework, including the decision to create a new category of generator under the feed-in tariff arrangements, namely a medium-scale generator having an installed capacity in the range of 30kW to 200kW; the suggestion of formally capping the total eligible generation output of the two generator categories, namely the micro and the new medium category; and the resolution to create a new class of eligible participant under the feed-in tariff arrangements, namely not-for-profit community organizations.
Although the ICRC has been asked to review the FiT rate this month, it is not yet clear whether the ACT Government will adopt the changes recommended.
To read the full report click here.