To pay solar households fairly, we need to understand the true value of solar – The Conversation

Extract from an article by Joe Wyndham and Jay Rutovitz

The Australian government is reviewing our electricity market to make sure it can provide secure and reliable power in a rapidly changing world. Faced with the rise of renewable energy and limits on carbon pollution, The Conversation has asked experts what kind of future awaits the grid.

This year many Australian households will find themselves cut off from generous incentives paid for electricity they export into the grid from rooftop solar systems.

Between September and December, state feed-in tariff (FiT) schemes in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia will finish. The FiTs applying to over 275,000 customers will drop from between 16 and 60 cents per kilowatt hour to between 5 and 7.2 cents per kWh. In NSW, the replacement FiT won’t be mandatory, with retailers allowed to decide what they pay. Of course, many of those customers have already recouped their investment.

Now that our rooftop solar industry has matured, we need to reconsider the purpose of FiTs and align them with our goals for the electricity system in the future.

Why pay solar households?

FiTs have been hugely important in getting the global solar industry to where it is now. Solar electricity costs have fallen to levels that were unimaginable just 10 years ago.

Governments have traditionally used FiTs to achieve a policy aim, such as increasing renewable energy production by bridging the gap between current costs of electricity and the cost of new sources.

Australian states began to introduce mandated FiTs in 2008. There has never been a national FiT in Australia, and Queensland, NSW and the ACT no longer have mandated FiTs. However, many electricity retailers offer FiTs, even when not mandated by government…(continues)

SOURCE: Joe Wyndham and Jay Rutovitz, “To pay solar households fairly, we need to understand the true value of solar”, The Conversation, 09 Dec 2016

Link to full article

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