Australia shapes up FiT policies: national gross system on the horizon? (Updated)

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As we progress further into what will soon be 2010 – ‘the year solar PV will take off’, more changes are being made in the world of photovoltaics in Australia. This country has seen many changes to its renewable situation during 2009, with new feed-in tariffs announced, improved and tweaked as the continent moves towards its goal of a nationwide gross feed-in tariff scheme.

Many changes are expected to come out of the climate change talks in Copenhagen over the next week. However, adding to the long list of those that already have, South Australian Premier Mike Rann has announced the mandatory ruling that all new and substantially refurbished government and government-operated residential buildings will have to utilize solar panels in some way.

Energy Matters reports that this declaration will take effect as of July 1st 2010. The scheme stipulates that each government-owned and -operated residential building will have a minimum of 1.5kW of solar panels installed, while all other new government buildings will have a minimum of 5kW. Premier Rann has also said that the South Australian government has increased its state target for renewable energy generation to 33% by 2020. This is 13% higher than the national RET (renewable energy target) of 20% to be achieved by the same date. 
 
In order to reach this target, there needs to be a significant amount of financial stimulus. In response to this, Premier Rann announced that as of July 2010, investors would benefit from payroll tax rebates of up to AUS$5 million for large solar farms.
 
Throughout 2009 Australia’s states have been battling it out for the best solar policy, yet they are all essentially working towards a RET and the idealized goal of a national gross feed-in tariff scheme.

The first state to announce a competitive rate was the ACT. The state’s Government implemented what was at the time the nation’s most generous feed-in tariff for solar power in March 2009. This rate is currently set from 50.05c/kWh up to 10kW capacity and 40.04c/kWh up to 30kW capacity. This was the first of Australia’s states to announce a gross FiT system.
 
Soon enough however, NSW was granted its own gross FiT scheme, coupled with its Solar Bonus Scheme, which pays 60c/kWh. Other states were not long to follow with this pattern of success. Even Victoria’s net feed-in tariff, which was at first written off as a disappointment, has actually gained a fair amount of momentum due to strong market forces.      
 
While Australia is slowly modifying its state segmented solar schemes to match the ever-growing market, it is still unclear whether or not these recent announcements from Rann will push South Australia to switch to a gross FiT scheme in the move towards a nation-wide gross scheme.

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Since I blogged with hope of a national gross feed-in tariff for Australia yesterday, Tasmania has come out and dashed this possibility. In a letter sent to Apollo Energy, a division of national solar solutions provider Energy Matters, Minister Llewellyn states that the low net FiT rate currently in place will remain.

In the letter, Minister Llewellyn outlines the following standpoint:

“For much of 2009 the Government has been listening to arguments for and against mandating premium feed in tariffs for any electricity fed into the grid by small, residential based renewable generators, such as rooftop photovoltaic panels.
   
Having listened to the arguments and taken heed of the policy principles for feed-in-tariff recently agreed by the Council of Australian Government, the Government has decided that it is not fair or sensible to force other people to pay more than a fair and reasonable price for such electricity.
   
We are satisfied that Aurora Energy’s current policy of paying the full retail price for any electricity that is supplied back to the grid is fair and reasonable in the Tasmanian context.
   
The Government will therefore mandate that a feed-in tariff will be provided in a manner that is consistent with the agreed national principles for feed-in tariff schemes.
   
It will be a net metering scheme with the tariff to be paid at a fair and reasonable rate.
   
On mainland Tasmania a fair and reasonable rate will be taken to be a rate equivalent to the unit price within the relevant retail tariff. For most households, that will be tariff 31, which at present is 19.363c/kWh.”
   
This decision will certainly put a spanner in the works for the dream of a nationalized gross tariff, as well as disappointing all the solar supporters in the state.

22 September 2021
To commemorate the World Energy Storage Day(WESD) on 22 September, being recognized worldwide, Customized Energy Solutions (CES) and India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) is organising the 5th global conference and virtual expo, which will be held virtually on 22 September 2021. WESD is a global movement initiated by various apex trade bodies working to promote and adopt energy storage, e-mobility & green hydrogen technologies for a sustainable future. The forthcoming edition of WESD is expected to attract global participation with an intent to facilitate bi-lateral trade, market development and new research and innovation, which will invite 100+ countries, 100+ regulators & policy makers, 100+ International speakers,1000+ organisations, 100+ partners & exhibitors and 20,000+ global delegates.
28 September 2021
Solar Solutions International is the largest trade show for solar energy in Northwest Europe. Now the solar market has grown up, it's time for the next step. Solar Solutions International displays more than 500 innovations and over 100 practical seminars concerning the latest in energy storage, smart products, and an ever evolving array of solar panels. As an exclusively B2B trade show, Solar Solutions International offers both exhibitors and visitors the chance to network at the highest level. Duurzaam Verwarmd, the largest trade show for sustainable HVAC technology in the Benelux, is held simultaneously. This way your one visit gets you up to date with all of the developments in both sustainable energy and heating.
6 October 2021
Intersolar Europe is the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry. It takes place as part of The smarter E Europe – the continent’s largest platform for the energy industry. Under the motto “Connecting solar business,” manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers and project planners and developers from around the world meet in Munich every year to discuss the latest developments and trends, explore innovations firsthand and meet potential new customers.
6 October 2021
The future is bright for a new era of US solar and storage, and the 8th annual Solar & Storage Finance Summit will provide opportunities to discuss solutions to the industry’s challenges and provide a networking platform designed to bring together the top minds in the industry to do business. With a mix of high-level, informative presentations and panels, a stellar cast of speakers and audience members with deal-making capacity, the 2021 edition of the event will be a sell-out success.
18 October 2021
Intersolar South America, South America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry, takes place at the Expo Center Norte in São Paulo, Brazil on October 18–20, 2021, and has a focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production and solar thermal technologies. At the accompanying Intersolar South America Conference, renowned experts shed light on hot topics in the solar industry.
19 October 2021
This year’s EV World Congress will hold a special role, not only as the first live EverythingEV event in over a year – a chance to renew your connections and re-engage with the EV sector face to face – but also as a chance to share insight and inspiration as world starts to look towards move on post COVID towards hitting ambitious decarbonisation goals in 2030 and beyond. As ever, we will be bringing world leading organisations, cities, and technology providers to the UK to inspire EV innovators, and delve into the challenges facing the sector as the UK looks to revolutionise road transport.

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