Australian regulator dumps solar tax proposal to avoid ‘death spiral’

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
AEMC was concerned that imposition of charges for export of energy from distributed generators may prompt a death spiral. Credit: ARENA

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), responsible for regulating the energy market, has dropped a proposal to let power network companies charge rooftop solar owners for feeding their electricity to the grid in a form of ‘solar tax’, after facing resistance from communities.

Shani Tager, senior solar campaigner at PV support group Solar Citizens, said: “It was an outrageous proposal to begin with and has been rightly taken off the table. 2,500 solar owners across Australia made it very clear to the AEMC that this was an unacceptable approach and they should not be charged for exporting their clean solar power to the grid.

“The big power stations don’t have to pay to export the energy they generate to the grid and solar households shouldn’t have to pay either.”

Tager said this is the second time that the AEMC has attempted to introduce similar charges and withdrawn after facing opposition from solar owners.

In its Distribution Market Model Final Report, AEMC said: “If consumers want to use the electricity from their solar panels or batteries they can, and if they do not need it – or value the income more from selling it more than their own use – they can sell it to whoever values it the most at a particular point in time.”

After noting that the access and connection charging issue had received the most amount of feedback, AEMC conceded that “further work was needed to understand whether distributed energy resources create benefits, or impose costs on the distribution network”.

It also said: “Further work is needed in order to understand what consumers want e.g. loss of open access for distributed generators or imposition of charges for export of energy from distributed generators may prompt a death spiral.”

AEMC’s report stated that investment in rooftop solar PV systems will continue to grow, with nearly 20GW installed by 2036/37 compared to less than 5GW in 2017. Meanwhile, residential and commercial battery storage uptake will exceed 5.5GW also by 2036/37.

In other positve news from June, Australian utility AGL increased its solar feed-in tariff (FiT) rates to ensure the benefits are not eroded by increasing wholesale electricity prices.

Read Next

December 2, 2021
Acciona Energia has struck deals for multiple green hydrogen facilities, one with state-owned Australian energy company Stanwell Corporation and a joint venture with US company Plug Power Inc. to establish multiple production sites across Spain and Portugal
PV Tech Premium
December 2, 2021
Hit by soaring electricity prices and widespread power outages during a severe cold weather event earlier this year, Texas homeowners have been ramping up rooftop solar and battery storage installs to protect against future blackouts and increase their energy independence.
December 2, 2021
‘Solar Module Super League’ member JinkoSolar has signed a 2GW module supply deal with Brazilian PV distributor Aldo Solar.
November 29, 2021
Commercial and industrial (C&I) solar developer Altus Power will offer distributed renewables and energy storage solutions through a new partnership with energy major Shell.
November 23, 2021
Renewables developers and O&M provider RES has appointed two new chief executives to lead on its growth plans.
November 19, 2021
Investment bank Macquarie is acquiring a 90% interest in French independent solar power producer Apex Energies Group from a consortium of investors.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
February 1, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal