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Green solar concerns as the industry hits the cap

By 30 May 2011 28

Greens Energy spokesperson Shane Rattenbury is voicing his worries that the solar feed-in tariff is about to become over-subscribed leading to doom and destruction:

“Figures revealed in Estimates hearings show that within weeks Canberrans may no longer be able to obtain the Feed in Tariff,” said Shane Rattenbury.

“The Minister urgently needs to reveal how the Government intends to address this.”

Earlier this year, the Feed in Tariff (FIT) legislation was amended to place a limit of 15 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity on micro systems (generally household rooftop systems). In Estimates, the Minister revealed at least 9.5 MW was already installed, and at least 400 new applications are being received a week. At a conservative estimate, that means 700-800kilowatts a week being installed, which could see the cap reached in 7-8 weeks.

“Some in the industry are already speculating that the cap has been reached based on current orders.”

“The Minister urgently needs to inform Canberra consumers and installers what is going to happen when the cap is reached, and what will happen to those customers who place an order and then find they are not eligible to receive the FIT.”

“The Greens have argued that the cap will see the industry hit a brickwall, and we fear that is about to eventuate – perhaps even sooner than most people expected.”

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28 Responses to Green solar concerns as the industry hits the cap
#1
Holden Caulfield10:56 am, 30 May 11

Watching this very closely as we have had an order in with Solar Shop for some time which has been held up at our end due to delays with our builder. We expect to be able to install in the next 7-8 weeks, or actually slightly after.

We saw a news report on ABC TV last night and funnily enough the phones at Solar Shop seem to be running off the hook this morning.

#2
MERC60012:46 pm, 30 May 11

Good.. the less around, the less I have to subsidise it ” the rich man dances, while the poor man pays the band” ( American singer, sorry forgotten who ).

#3
shadow boxer1:04 pm, 30 May 11

The same thing as happens to any other artificially created or subsidised deman,d it eventually collapses like a pyramid scheme, those that got in early may get a return but the vast majority will do their dough when it collapses.

#4
Lazy I1:06 pm, 30 May 11

MERC600 said :

Good.. the less around, the less I have to subsidise it ” the rich man dances, while the poor man pays the band” ( American singer, sorry forgotten who ).

Yeah.. spot on… the ‘rich’ never subsidise the poor in this country, it’s always the other way round.

Oh.. wait…

#5
shadow boxer1:13 pm, 30 May 11

Lazy I said :

MERC600 said :

Good.. the less around, the less I have to subsidise it ” the rich man dances, while the poor man pays the band” ( American singer, sorry forgotten who ).

Yeah.. spot on… the ‘rich’ never subsidise the poor in this country, it’s always the other way round.

Oh.. wait…

It’s a bit different when you are talking about societies most disadvantaged and an essential service.

#6
dvaey2:47 pm, 30 May 11

shadow boxer said :

The same thing as happens to any other artificially created or subsidised deman,d it eventually collapses like a pyramid scheme, those that got in early may get a return but the vast majority will do their dough when it collapses.

Except that theyve got an asset on their property which will generate energy for them for the next 10+ years, even if its not generating revenue, so its not a complete loss.

#7
shadow boxer4:29 pm, 30 May 11

dvaey said :

shadow boxer said :

The same thing as happens to any other artificially created or subsidised deman,d it eventually collapses like a pyramid scheme, those that got in early may get a return but the vast majority will do their dough when it collapses.

Except that theyve got an asset on their property which will generate energy for them for the next 10+ years, even if its not generating revenue, so its not a complete loss.

Yeh I take your point but if everyone gets one they will find a way to make you pay, we will still need power stations and the regulator will find a way to guarantee ACTEWAGL’s viability.

Nobody thought the farmers could ever be charged for rainwater in their dams either, but it happened

#8
OpenYourMind5:42 pm, 30 May 11

I get that those renting or in apartments etc can’t capitalise on this scheme, but it annoys me when people talk about the solar scheme being for the ‘rich’ and the poor subsidising it. A basic system is probably similar money to the cost of a big arsed plasma TV a few years back. Plenty of ‘poor’ seemed to find the money for these TVs.

#9
OpenYourMind5:45 pm, 30 May 11

Also, interestingly, with lowering solar PV costs, a time will come, sooner than any of us had probably imagined, that solar parity will occur. i.e. It’s as cheap to produce your electricity as it is to buy from the grid. When that occurs, it will change the energy production equation in this country. Going into the future, in my opinion, our big energy challenge is going to be storing it, not producing it.

#10
Jethro6:16 pm, 30 May 11

MERC600 said :

Good.. the less around, the less I have to subsidise it ” the rich man dances, while the poor man pays the band” ( American singer, sorry forgotten who ).

True to an extent. The FIT is an absurdly expensive way for use to make the shift away from carbon based energy and the people who are paying for it are those who don’t have solar installed. However, I don’t think this is a rich versus poor argument. Families on lower incomes could have treated it as an investment opportunity and a chance to improve their family budget. In the past green loans made this even more possible for those on lower incomes. Indeed I know of quite a few low income families that have installed solar.

Nonetheless, I don’t think the FIT scheme has been the best policy.

#11
LeatherJen6:37 pm, 30 May 11

It’s an unsustainable scheme that doesn’t take advantage of economies of scale.

But it made us feel all warm and fuzzy, as though we saving the environment or something.

End rant. Sorry, but I’ve always thought artificially supported feed-in tarriffs are not good for us long term. I realise many here will disagree with my opinion.

#12
cranky7:05 pm, 30 May 11

OYM said.

‘Also, interestingly, with lowering solar PV costs, a time will come, sooner than any of us had probably imagined, that solar parity will occur. i.e. It’s as cheap to produce your electricity as it is to buy from the grid’

Quite possible, but then ACTEW will still find a way to charge through the roof because powerlines pass your property, even though you are not drawing one watt. The desire of the green fringe for this parity will come to grief on the horns of the government dependence on the dividends paid by their power distributors.

The householder will never get a fair break.

#13
Golden-Alpine7:15 pm, 30 May 11

OpenYourMind said :

I get that those renting or in apartments etc can’t capitalise on this scheme, but it annoys me when people talk about the solar scheme being for the ‘rich’ and the poor subsidising it. A basic system is probably similar money to the cost of a big arsed plasma TV a few years back. Plenty of ‘poor’ seemed to find the money for these TVs.

So true….

#14
breda7:56 pm, 30 May 11

What nonsense. Solar PV is still expensive, inefficient and propped up by other (poorer) users. I have been listening to proponents of solar power for decades now; we keep hearing that the breakthrough is “just around the corner”. It is not around the corner, because despite untold billions being thrown at it, over at least five decades, it is never going to provide the strong, continuous, reliable power we need at a competitive price.

Stupid schemes like the ACT one, where people are subsidised to put up panels, and then for the itty bits of power they produce, just place a burden on everyone else. Who do they think is paying for all these subsidies? The Green Fairies?

#15
Holden Caulfield8:17 pm, 30 May 11

breda said :

Who do they think is paying for all these subsidies? The Green Fairies?

It’s the poor poor people, apparently. Just read any thread on here about solar panels and you’ll quickly learn that rich people must be getting free electricity. Even if they don’t have solar panels, because only the poor poor people are paying for electricity.

#16
shadow boxer8:33 pm, 30 May 11

Golden-Alpine said :

OpenYourMind said :

I get that those renting or in apartments etc can’t capitalise on this scheme, but it annoys me when people talk about the solar scheme being for the ‘rich’ and the poor subsidising it. A basic system is probably similar money to the cost of a big arsed plasma TV a few years back. Plenty of ‘poor’ seemed to find the money for these TVs.

So true….

You do realise that the young, pld, poor, disabled and disadvantaged don’t actually own houses or $5,000 TV’s don’t you ?

You probably need to get out more if you don’t. It’s basic economics, if you pay someone more then it’s worth and maintain your profits the money has to come from somewhere.

#17
26048:51 pm, 30 May 11

OpenYourMind said :

I get that those renting or in apartments etc can’t capitalise on this scheme, but it annoys me when people talk about the solar scheme being for the ‘rich’ and the poor subsidising it. A basic system is probably similar money to the cost of a big arsed plasma TV a few years back. Plenty of ‘poor’ seemed to find the money for these TVs.

The issue isn’t only the government subsidy on the initial capital expenditure. It’s also the contractual promise to purchase electricity at above market rates for the next 20 years at great cost to the taxpayer and other electricity users.

The gov’t should remove itself from the scheme and ACTEW should buy the solar energy at the going market rate.

#18
OpenYourMind9:37 pm, 30 May 11

I agree that the scheme is/was overly generous, but part of the aim was to kickstart the industry. It’s done this in spades.

And, Breda, maybe you haven’t been keeping up with current events, but solar (like most electronic/electrical items) is radically dropping in price. Much of this fall is being shaped by Chinese production. In the space of two years, solar PV systems have more than halved in price. Have a look on eBay at systems (many albeit cheap Chinese junk) and you’ll see the market is being driven down.

Our house produces almost as much energy as it uses and we aren’t even particularly energy efficient…yet. Solar PV is not a pipe dream.

#19
matt312219:48 pm, 30 May 11

When I was an electrical apprentice, at TAFE they were trying to get everyone interested in solar technology. How did they do it? They showed us all a video of a hot babe showering – soaping her supple body with a naughty smile, with information spoken over the top. It was quite an effective technique. I now subconciously associate hot chicks with solar power!

#20
zig10:26 pm, 30 May 11

breda said :

What nonsense. Solar PV is still expensive, inefficient and propped up by other (poorer) users. I have been listening to proponents of solar power for decades now; we keep hearing that the breakthrough is “just around the corner”. It is not around the corner, because despite untold billions being thrown at it, over at least five decades, it is never going to provide the strong, continuous, reliable power we need at a competitive price.

Stupid schemes like the ACT one, where people are subsidised to put up panels, and then for the itty bits of power they produce, just place a burden on everyone else. Who do they think is paying for all these subsidies? The Green Fairies?

+1

#21
breda10:32 pm, 30 May 11

openyourmind said:

I agree that the scheme is/was overly generous, but part of the aim was to kickstart the industry. It’s done this in spades.

And, Breda, maybe you haven’t been keeping up with current events, but solar (like most electronic/electrical items) is radically dropping in price. Much of this fall is being shaped by Chinese production. In the space of two years, solar PV systems have more than halved in price. Have a look on eBay at systems (many albeit cheap Chinese junk) and you’ll see the market is being driven down.

Our house produces almost as much energy as it uses and we aren’t even particularly energy efficient…yet. Solar PV is not a pipe dream.

———————————————————————————————————-

It is certainly true that cheap Chinese solar panels have significantly affected the economics of the solar power industry.

First, how come the ‘whole of life-cycle’ test doesn’t seem to apply here? Quite apart from the distance and resources required for them to be brought here, there are some very ugly stories coming out of the rare-earth extraction processes in China which underpin the industry. But, heck, as long as it means a panel gets installed on a roof in Canberra, it’s a plus for the environment, right? We start from zero there, right?

Just in passing, under the Federal Government’s recent public housing spendfest, they are currently building a block of 8 units near me with the carpark and access area facing north/east, and the units facing south/west. It was pointed out to them by community groups, several times at the planning stage that this would make the units dark and cold. Made not a jot of difference.

I guess that the ACT government’s commitment to things that actually work is less important than pandering to Green fantasies.

#22
GardeningGirl1:03 am, 31 May 11

breda said :

It is certainly true that cheap Chinese solar panels have significantly affected the economics of the solar power industry.

First, how come the ‘whole of life-cycle’ test doesn’t seem to apply here? Quite apart from the distance and resources required for them to be brought here, there are some very ugly stories coming out of the rare-earth extraction processes in China which underpin the industry. But, heck, as long as it means a panel gets installed on a roof in Canberra, it’s a plus for the environment, right? We start from zero there, right?

Just in passing, under the Federal Government’s recent public housing spendfest, they are currently building a block of 8 units near me with the carpark and access area facing north/east, and the units facing south/west. It was pointed out to them by community groups, several times at the planning stage that this would make the units dark and cold. Made not a jot of difference.

I guess that the ACT government’s commitment to things that actually work is less important than pandering to Green fantasies.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes Breda! I’m glad I’m not the only one who is becoming increasingly concerned about where this is heading. I was a huge fan of the idea of solar power long before it became fashionable. Unfortunately just as it started becoming feasible and accessible for us suburbanites with lots of green enthusiasm but limited handyman skills or funds, research started to reveal the downsides of the growing industry. I personally do happen to think that utilising the sun is part of the solution but I feel very wary now, and the recent news about poor or faulty installations has only increased my caution.

Oh my, there are new govie units we regularly pass which prompt the exclamation from me “don’t they know which way is north???” Again, I’m not alone!

#23
cmacra288:43 am, 01 Jun 11

AS soon as I started researching a Solar feed-in system for my home these articles started and today Simon Corbell has stopped the scheme from last night. I got a quote from ACTEW yesterday and had someone coming around to quote today. I’ve never done it before, but I will probably vote fro the Greens in the next ACT Election.

#24
Chop719:12 am, 01 Jun 11

Thank You Simon Corbell for closing this scheme. The rest of us now pay $14 a year to those who could afford solar. (as quoted by him on ABC tis morning). That’s another $14 I have been taxed, this and every year, thanks.

#25
Jim Jones9:18 am, 01 Jun 11

Chop71 said :

Thank You Simon Corbell for closing this scheme. The rest of us now pay $14 a year to those who could afford solar. (as quoted by him on ABC tis morning). That’s another $14 I have been taxed, this and every year, thanks.

$14 a year to contribute to the uptake of renewal energy hardly seems unreasonable.

Simon Corbell was clearly caught by surprise on this one and has dealt with it extremely badly.

#26
The Frots9:27 am, 01 Jun 11

Chop71 said :

Thank You Simon Corbell for closing this scheme. The rest of us now pay $14 a year to those who could afford solar. (as quoted by him on ABC tis morning). That’s another $14 I have been taxed, this and every year, thanks.

Yep! I heard him this morning – and yesterday when he was on the ABC he didn’t say a word about the scheme closing at midnight last night (despite him saying today that eh already knew and didn’t want a ‘panic’).

I agree with Gardening Girl and Breda though – there is more to this than meets the eye and I think we will hear much more about it in the very near future.

#27
D210:02 am, 01 Jun 11

breda said :

Just in passing, under the Federal Government’s recent public housing spendfest, they are currently building a block of 8 units near me with the carpark and access area facing north/east, and the units facing south/west. It was pointed out to them by community groups, several times at the planning stage that this would make the units dark and cold. Made not a jot of difference.

+1

I reckon that mandating north-facing blocks would save more energy at $0 cost to anyone.

#28
D210:04 am, 01 Jun 11

Chop71 said :

Thank You Simon Corbell for closing this scheme. The rest of us now pay $14 a year to those who could afford solar. (as quoted by him on ABC tis morning). That’s another $14 I have been taxed, this and every year, thanks.

Only $14? Talk about a bargain!

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