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Game Over if you were thinking about solar power.

By johnboy 1 June 2011 36

Simon Corbell has not published an announcement yet, but despite telling the public yesterday that it would be months until the solar feed-in tariff scheme was fully subscribed, the scheme has now been closed in the face of rampaging demand.

If you’ve already paid a deposit, or entered into a formal arrangement for installation, then you’re amongst the chosen few, the rest of you have missed the rapture.

UPDATE: Simon Corbell’s media release on this is now available:

Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Simon Corbell, has announced the closure of the Micro Generator component of the ACT Feed-In Tariff Scheme.

Mr Corbell said that the Legislative Assembly agreed in February 2011to changes to the scheme to ensure that the cost to consumers was maintained at a reasonable level.

“To do this the government set capacity caps on both the Micro and Medium Generator categories within the Scheme,” Mr Corbell said.

“As at midnight last night (Tuesday, 31 May 2011) the Micro Generator category was closed as the legislated cap has been reached.

“The scheme has delivered all and more than was expected of it with unprecedented numbers of applications over the last few months. This rapid increase in take-up has been driven by the large reductions to
Commonwealth rebates from 1 July this year.

“The closure of the Micro category does not spell the end of the feed-in tariff. Consistent with its long held policy position, the government sees the future of renewable generation in the ACT as being at a larger scale.

This scale of generation improves cost efficiency. We are the only jurisdiction in the country to look beyond the household rooftop towards a more sustainable industry.

In February 2011 the government introduced a Medium Generator category (for installations greater than 30kW and up to 200kW) with an allocated cap of 15MW.

“That cap remains largely uncommitted, householders who are still interested in investing in renewable energy can join one of the community groups that are forming to create community owned generators,” Mr Corbell said.

“Later this year, the government will also introduce legislation for a large-scale generation feed-in tariff, with 40MW to be allocated to large generators (solar farms scale) by a reverse auction process in the next 12 months.

“The government will protect people who have proceeded in good faith and have already committed to an installation.

“Any householders or businesses who have entered into a contract for a solar installation and had paid a deposit before midnight last night can still be accepted into the scheme.

What’s Your opinion?


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Game Over if you were thinking about solar power.
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wotsinaname 12:03 am 20 Jun 11

Make my day???
“As at midnight last night (Tuesday, 31 May 2011) the Micro Generator [Feed In Tariff] category was closed as the legislated cap has been reached.”
(Simon Corbell media release, 1 June 2011)

GottaLoveCanberra said :

This news made my day when I got it this morning!

But then, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…. leaving your wallet on the beach..

“ActewAGL and Better Place sign landmark $60m deal on renewable energy”
(Better Place media release, 1 June 2011)

(at http://www.actewagl.com.au/About-us/Media-centre-and-reports/2011/06/01/ActewAGL-and-Better-Place-sign-landmark-deal.aspx )

Trad_and_Anon 10:25 am 14 Jun 11

Holden Caulfield said :

Trad_and_Anon said :

This is great news. Why should poor people pay for a lot of greens to live out a fantasy? What people also forget is that the fabrication of solar panels creates huge environmental problems in China. Moreover, many people can’t install panels; some cases it is their house / dwelling – or as in my case, a tree which the greens have decreed is so vital to the future of the planet that we are not permitted to cut it down, though it can drop branches onto my house – as it did last week.
It would be far better to put the money into a gas fired power station and have lower electricity prices in the ACT. That would have produced immediate green house savings.
These sort of green-dabbling-in public policy fantasies have to cease.

While there are some reasonable points in your dribble, can you do two things for me please:

1. Define “poor people” by household income or some other reasonable standard.

2. The Feed-In Tariff scheme is paid for by ALL electricity consumers, therefore can you please explain how it is that anyone who is not as defined as a “poor” is currently getting free electricity. Which is what we must assume if we are to accept your original assertion that only poor people are paying for the scheme.

Certainly: (1) pensioners who are not self-funded, people on low incomes, students, people who are part of the “working poor” and receive the various “top up benefits” from the Commonwealth. Yes, they receive concession, but still the feed in tariff does increase power prices and does take funds from other government services. It is also unfair in not being available to all.
(2) You are engaging in an old ploy here of attributing to me something I did not say. [Are you a green, by any chance? That’s a standard stunt by them….] I did not say that ONLY the poor are paying. I asked why it was that poor people – i.e. those on low incomes should face higher costs. Nor did I say that anyone was receiving free electricity. My point was simple. The funding for the feed in tarif must come from somewhere. It has to be paid for by some one. And that is, ultimately, everyone – including those who do not have solar panels. so, the people who do not have the panels are paying for those who do. And that is unfair when not everyone can benefit. It is far better to reduce the cost of power across the board.
The point with make in (2) is so logically weird and based on mis-attributing to me things I did not say, I have trouble following it.
Calling what I say “dribble” is a type of ad hominen argument; playing the man and not the ball. Again, a standard stunt of the greens. No problems with disagreement, but a passing, glancing nod to reality would be useful.

Holden Caulfield 10:08 am 14 Jun 11

Trad_and_Anon said :

This is great news. Why should poor people pay for a lot of greens to live out a fantasy? What people also forget is that the fabrication of solar panels creates huge environmental problems in China. Moreover, many people can’t install panels; some cases it is their house / dwelling – or as in my case, a tree which the greens have decreed is so vital to the future of the planet that we are not permitted to cut it down, though it can drop branches onto my house – as it did last week.
It would be far better to put the money into a gas fired power station and have lower electricity prices in the ACT. That would have produced immediate green house savings.
These sort of green-dabbling-in public policy fantasies have to cease.

While there are some reasonable points in your dribble, can you do two things for me please:

1. Define “poor people” by household income or some other reasonable standard.

2. The Feed-In Tariff scheme is paid for by ALL electricity consumers, therefore can you please explain how it is that anyone who is not as defined as a “poor” is currently getting free electricity. Which is what we must assume if we are to accept your original assertion that only poor people are paying for the scheme.

Trad_and_Anon 9:33 am 14 Jun 11

This is great news. Why should poor people pay for a lot of greens to live out a fantasy? What people also forget is that the fabrication of solar panels creates huge environmental problems in China. Moreover, many people can’t install panels; some cases it is their house / dwelling – or as in my case, a tree which the greens have decreed is so vital to the future of the planet that we are not permitted to cut it down, though it can drop branches onto my house – as it did last week.
It would be far better to put the money into a gas fired power station and have lower electricity prices in the ACT. That would have produced immediate green house savings.
These sort of green-dabbling-in public policy fantasies have to cease.

Dante 7:47 am 02 Jun 11

2604, funnily enough that’s more than you’d pay under a carbon tax where the estimated cost is around $20 per tonne.

In some ways this isn’t a bad thing. The solar panels that are being installed involve heavy pollution during the creation process… Photovoltaic is not the way to go forwards.

I’ve also previously commented how it isn’t a fair scheme for renters since they will all be paying increased electricity costs on behalf of the few who have had the capital to own a house AND install panels on the roof. My thoughts still stand.

If anything it should be fed into the grid at the same pricing per kwh as you’d pay for it.

steveu 8:13 pm 01 Jun 11

Environmental tokenism on the part of the government yet again.
Dont worry, we’ll fix the problem by putting extra taxes on everything!

2604 6:51 pm 01 Jun 11

Gungahlin Al said :

Well now we can sit back and watch electricity prices continue to climb anyway, and all the nay-sayers won’t be able to blame the FIT for it.

Only then will it become obvious that it is indeed mostly about infrastructure upgrade costs to cope with all the air conditioners you’ve all been installing and running full blast during heat waves.

I get the last laugh, but alas won’t be laughing. I had hoped the ACT ALP Government would not repeat the screw-ups that have been pulled everywhere else around the country, but it seems not.

Al, the problem with your argument is that the capital cost of large-scale, conventional (coal/gas) power generation will almost certainly never be as high as the capital cost of subsidising folks to put micro-solar generators on their roofs plus the cost of buying the generated power at 45.7c per kWh.

And if the costs of conventional power do ever get this high, people would be better off switching to more efficient large-scale renewable energy sources, a la Greenchoice.

As for saving CO2 emissions, don’t the costs of abatement with rooftop solar run to hundreds of dollars per tonne? We offset our car emissions through Greenfleet and from memory that only costs ~$80 for 3.4 tonnes per year!

Gungahlin Al 5:01 pm 01 Jun 11

johnboy said :

Maybe Al, but it won’t go up as much.

Not nearly as much difference as you might think.

To give you an idea of how expensive it can get, the wholesale spot buy rate at certain peak times can bounce from around $28/MWhr to as much as $10,000. Or they can pour money into infrastructure to handle the peak load. Often they need both. $millions spent on generation plants that are used only a few hours a year, but when turned on rake in these extraordinary prices.

Holden Caulfield 4:36 pm 01 Jun 11

chewy14 said :

Yeah in 2031 it probably won’t be as good a deal but with a 3-5 year payback period it won’t matter. The return on investment that you’ve locked in is worth it.
Johnboy, the rate isn’t indexed.

Yeah, that’s right, it is still a while away yet. Given all the claims of rising electricity costs, it will be interesting to see when the gap closes and enters negative territory.

chewy14 4:09 pm 01 Jun 11

Holden Caulfield said :

Haha, I love the hate this topic always creates. I reckon it’d sit third behind “cars v cyclists” and “all P-platers are shit and I’m an awesome driver” threads.

Anyway, most will be pleased to know we’ve been saved by our deposit. Although, I’m wondering, in 20 years time, when the FIT rate expires, how attractive will 45.7¢ per kWh actually be?

Seems to me, with a much longer term view, the regular deal of just being paid at the rate at which you buy (ie. on an upwards trend, if the doomsayers are to be believed) could end up being the better deal, rather than being locked into a rate which seems attractive now, but probably won’t be in 2031.

Yeah in 2031 it probably won’t be as good a deal but with a 3-5 year payback period it won’t matter. The return on investment that you’ve locked in is worth it.
Johnboy, the rate isn’t indexed.

johnboy 3:45 pm 01 Jun 11

Holden Caulfield said :

Although, I’m wondering, in 20 years time, when the FIT rate expires, how attractive will 45.7¢ per kWh actually be?

Seems to me, with a much longer term view, the regular deal of just being paid at the rate at which you buy (ie. on an upwards trend, if the doomsayers are to be believed) could end up being the better deal, rather than being locked into a rate which seems attractive now, but probably won’t be in 2031.

Is it indexed to inflation?

Holden Caulfield 3:43 pm 01 Jun 11

Haha, I love the hate this topic always creates. I reckon it’d sit third behind “cars v cyclists” and “all P-platers are shit and I’m an awesome driver” threads.

Anyway, most will be pleased to know we’ve been saved by our deposit. Although, I’m wondering, in 20 years time, when the FIT rate expires, how attractive will 45.7¢ per kWh actually be?

Seems to me, with a much longer term view, the regular deal of just being paid at the rate at which you buy (ie. on an upwards trend, if the doomsayers are to be believed) could end up being the better deal, rather than being locked into a rate which seems attractive now, but probably won’t be in 2031.

GottaLoveCanberra 2:43 pm 01 Jun 11

This news made my day when I got it this morning!

johnboy 2:06 pm 01 Jun 11

Maybe Al, but it won’t go up as much.

Gungahlin Al 2:01 pm 01 Jun 11

Well now we can sit back and watch electricity prices continue to climb anyway, and all the nay-sayers won’t be able to blame the FIT for it.

Only then will it become obvious that it is indeed mostly about infrastructure upgrade costs to cope with all the air conditioners you’ve all been installing and running full blast during heat waves.

I get the last laugh, but alas won’t be laughing. I had hoped the ACT ALP Government would not repeat the screw-ups that have been pulled everywhere else around the country, but it seems not.

haroldbeagle 1:49 pm 01 Jun 11

>>>I have only one thing to say to you: Baseload Fallacy.

An interesting progression; no longer pretending renewables can supply base load power, to pretending that it doesn’t matter that they cannot. Marvellous thing post-modern science.

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