How to Design a Solar Feed-in-Tariff
Posted by David Burns | comments 1 Comments | agree_icon Agree (5) | disagree_icon Disgree (0)
How to Design a Solar Feed-in-Tariff

The Kristina Keneally NSW Labor government will be remembered for their overly-generous gross feed-in-tariff, and then killing it 12 months later without any transition period, leaving homeowners and the solar industry in limbo. David Burns of Sustain450 advocates how residential solar can provide benefits for all stakeholders. Read more ...

Kristina Keneally's NSW Labor government has traditionally supported the emerging green sector, however the recent decision to reduce the gross feed-in-tariff from $0.66/kWhr to $0.20/kWhr for new subscribers has shocked many stakeholders. Unlike other Australian States preferring a net feed-in-tariff which prioritises energy efficiency, the NSW scheme focused on financial incentives regardless of home size or energy efficiency gains. Is anybody surprised that the system was over subscribed and eventually failed? How many energy intensive mansions received tax payer funded rebates and guaranteed tariffs at the expense of low energy consuming families?

A residential solar scheme should prioritise energy efficiency in the first instance, and then offer a fair financial incentive to encourage homeowners to reduce dependance upon coal fired power stations with a reasonable payback period. My preference is for a nett/ gross feed-in-tariff hybrid:

1. Keep the existing 10kW residential system restriction to encourage homeowners to reduce their energy demand, and sell surplus energy back to the retailer by living in smart homes that use energy efficiently.

2. Keep the existing Rebates & REC's for homeowners which promote renewable energy at the point of demand.

3. Set a fair tariff feeding the home first of $0.40/kWhr (a few cents above peak time-of-use rate) to pull forward solar payback periods.

4. Set a generous surplus energy buy-back rate into the grid of $0.66/kWhr. It is commonly accepted that the typical Australian home consumes 20-25kWhr per 24hour period, requiring a 5-6kW system to balance consumption.


* NSW tax payers are not burdened with excessive buy-back liabilities.

* No metering type ambuguity at the conclusion of the tariff period (2016).

* Avoids wasting 10% of solar energy generated by homeowner typically lost once feed into the grid (heat loss).

* Avoids overloading aging local grid networks.

Allowing NSW Labor to Kill Solar hurts young families like Chrissie Soghomonian, husband Shant and their new baby living in Forestville NSW. Chrissie and Shant are relatives of mine participating in the 'Save Power Challenge' sponsored by the Daily Telegraph which is also following several other Sydney families who are embarking on an energy efficiency journey. The NSW Labor decision to Kill Solar sends confusing messages to the community at a time when electricity prices are rising due to an aging network and in the absence of a carbon price. Residential energy efficiency and solar energy offers homeowners an effective readiness against future energy price shocks, and strenghtens the solar industry to provide volume and supply chain certaining, promoting competition & innovation in the energy sector. 


David Burns is a Sustainability Advisor and Analyst, www.sustain450.com.au

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Misho: Misho & Associates Architecture
Thu 25 Nov 2010 agree_icon Agree (0) disagree_icon Disgree (0)

Hi David, thank you!!!!!! You continue to educate me. The blog was informative and extremely insightful.

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