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ACTEW to push back on Solar plan

By Jazz - 7 August 2007 48

CT is reporting a bizarre plan by the government to artificially price solar power so as to make the technology more attractive to private investors. At the moment ACTEW pay a tarriff to renewable energy providers of around 7c per kilowatt. Under this plan proposed by Labor Backbencher Mick Gentleman ACTEW would pay up to 52c per kilowatt. A huge difference given the cost to produce solar and the arguable difference in its efficiency.

It seems that Canberrans would probably pay for the tariff through a levy on their existing power bills, starting at $1-$2 and growing to around 5%. The theory being that everyone will rush out and install solar panels for their power and reduce reliance on the grid. (at the moment there are around 80 homes with it installed)

For info it currently costs $13,000-$15,000 to install 1kw of solar panels in Canberra, although there is an $8000 Federal Government rebate.

The proposal will be put to the assembly next month.

What’s Your opinion?


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48 Responses to
ACTEW to push back on Solar plan
Jazz 2:59 pm 07 Aug 07

taking your idea further ralph consider this as a bit of stick and carrot incentive scheme

1. Set a Carbon tax on non renewable/dirty electricity sources.
2. Offer non means tested, no interest loans for those interested in using renewable energy sources such as solar panels or wind power etc..

Govt/ACTEW then offsets the cost of the no interest loans against the increased revenue from carbon tax while making it more attractive for consumers to go to cleaner energy source. Joe Average uses the savings in energy costs on his power bill in the short term to pay off the installation.

Jazz 2:48 pm 07 Aug 07

sorry to disappoint you mutley. its actually selma’s long lost brother in law, freidrick august .

not nearly as cute

mutley 2:38 pm 07 Aug 07

Where does Selma Hayek come into this?

mmm Selma Hayek……..

Jazz 2:37 pm 07 Aug 07

I think i’d get it, but only if i was doing a new build and could optimise the orientation of the house.
I’m not sure i could be stuffed retrofitting my current house

Ralph 1:56 pm 07 Aug 07

I don’t think Hayek is relevant here, makes perfect sense for public goods, but we already have energy markets, and no case has been made as to why solar should receive special treatment.

Carbon tax, then let the market decide.

bonfire 1:32 pm 07 Aug 07

‘People shouldn’t be forced into paying for something that they don’t want.’

normally i’d agree with this, but a person with any familiarity in hayekian economics understands that sometimes there is an overriding need for a govt to exercise this form of control for greater societal good. hayek is specific about it being when its uneconomic for private capital to invest in such a venture.

id be happy for every suburban roof in canberrs sprawling poorly designed suburbs to have a solar array on it. it might defray the power gobbled by the following unnecesary household items: plasma tv’s, dishwashers, clothes dryers, air-conditioners etc.

bring it on.

caf 1:20 pm 07 Aug 07

VY (and others), I will restate something I have said before: the idea that solar photovoltaics don’t ever repay the energy used to manufacture them is a myth (but a fairly persistent one). Research on the subject is not hard to find – see this FAQ published by the US DOE, and the papers it references, as a starting point.

Energy payback periods for solar PV installations are in the order of 3 years (for comparison, the energy payback period for a nuclear power station is around 2 years).

However, I would like to say that I agree that artifically pricing solar energy is not the right solution – though perhaps a case could be made for it as an interim measure until a carbon pricing mechanism is in place.

Electricity markets are strange things – grid-connected electricity is virtually worthless for 23 hours and 30 minutes a day, and horrendously expensive for the other 30 minutes.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with 1:12 pm 07 Aug 07

Before crowing on about how environmentally friendly solar energy is, do some research about the energy cost of producing the solar panels in the first place. It typically takes more energy to manufacture a solar panel than the solar panel can collect during its life. Typically, the superficial is held up by the greenies – how about some real ideas?

Thumper 12:57 pm 07 Aug 07

“Coal is also a renewable energy source. eventually”

hehe, we just need some dinosaurs to die…

Ralph 12:50 pm 07 Aug 07

All I am saying is if there is some sort of market failure concerning global warming, then put a carbon tax in place, and let the market decide what is economic.

Jazz 12:48 pm 07 Aug 07

just look at housing. the more govts artificially meddle with the natural market the more unbalanced it becomes and the more meddling it requires to get it back in balance.

Woody, Its bizarre as i didnt think it proven that solar was any more efficient than any other renewable energy source, so why this one?

Btw,Coal is also a renewable energy source. eventually

Ralph 12:42 pm 07 Aug 07

We live in a free society Woody, something that Marxist-greens grapple with. People shouldn’t be forced into paying for something that they don’t want.

Coal and nuclear are clearly more economic, and efficient. Your beloved clean energy costs more to produce, you should pay that premium if you choose to accept it.

No, Government’s shouldn’t be manipulating any markets, that’s where they mess things up in a big way.

Exactly what are the market’s interests anyway? Presently cheap coal and predisposition for that reveals that is exactly what the majority of consumers want.

Woody Mann-Caruso 12:34 pm 07 Aug 07

And I loved this gem from the article:

“Why should other consumers who don’t want to put solar power in have to pay?”

Because the amount you charge for coal-fired electricity isn’t a real reflection of its costs, dip5hit – just its immediate costs to you, plus a profit margin. A more useful question is “why shouldn’t my clean, green, renewable energy be an order of magnitude more valuable than your dirty, wasteful, damaging energy? Any why shouldn’t governments step in to manipulate the market when the market’s interests are counter to those of the community in the long term?”

Ralph 12:33 pm 07 Aug 07

Indeed, pouring taxpayers money into something that hasn’t become economic beyond calculators and other assorted miscellaneous gadjets.

Woody Mann-Caruso 12:29 pm 07 Aug 07

Why is this bizarre? It worked perfectly in Germany. (Cue Nazi jokes)

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