Skip to content Skip to main navigation

News

Skilled legal advice with
accessible & personal attention

Shane on the solar coaster

By johnboy - 13 June 2013 81

Mayor Rattenbury is explaining his plans for solar feed-in tariffs in the wake of ActewAGL’s changes:

“The ACT Greens were critical when the Government didn’t continue to gradually reduce the payments on the old feed-in tariff as the scheme was very generous for PV system owners. But we are keen to see home and small business generators paid a fair price, and one that delivers an incentive for the community to keep installing rooftop solar.

“If the guaranteed payment scheme were implemented, rooftop solar programs would cost the ACT community less than large-scale solar. Given that we have a 90% renewable energy target that we need to meet at the lowest cost possible, it would be short-sighted not to continue with a rooftop incentive scheme.

“While there is a place for large-scale solar developments in our energy mix, rooftop solar comes without the additional challenges of planning approvals, finding sites and having solar auctions.


UPDATE: Simon Corbell wants to put the past behind him on this issue:

Responding to the Australian Energy Regulator’s decision on how ActewAGL Distribution will charge for the use of its network by rooftop solar generators, Mr Corbell said any new policy setting for rooftop solar should reflect the dramatic reduction in price for rooftop PV panels and installation.

“Roof top solar is a much more attractive and affordable technology than it was 3-4 years ago, when the ACT established a premium feed in tariff scheme. At the time it was reasonable to establish a premium price to encourage uptake of new technology, but those times have now changed,” Mr Corbell said.

The ACT Labor Government has clear policy settings for micro (rooftop) and large scale solar generation. Roof top solar policy settings are designed to facilitate households to help offset the costs of their electricity use and switch to renewable energy use as an offset to their own consumption. The Government’s large scale solar policies, such as the large scale reverse auction, are designed to encourage large scale renewable energy supply to meet our target of 90% renewables by 2020.”

“Large scale generation delivers efficiency of scale, and importantly additional greenhouse gas abatement, which is not feasible with small scale roof top installations,” Mr Corbell said.

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
81 Responses to
Shane on the solar coaster
IrishPete 5:09 pm 14 Jun 13

When talking about subsidies, can we please ensure we are including all the direct and indirect subsidies to coal, gas and nuclear industries, so we comparing like with like?

For nuclear, I think one of the biggest subsidies is that government provides the insurance of last resort, as the private sector won’t touch it with a barge pole; as far as I know, government has also been paying for decommissioning (what a layperson would cal cleaning up the mess), tens of billions for Sellafield/Windscale in England.

For coal and gas some of the subsidies are more obvious – the diesel fuel rebate to miners being the most obvious and well-known, but RiotACTers can probably provide a much longer list.

IP

poetix 4:38 pm 14 Jun 13

I like that headline. Too many puns are barely enough.

devils_advocate 4:21 pm 14 Jun 13

Martlark said :

Solar PV is the most expensive. We should be installing gas combined cycle instead and use the savings for something more environmentally useful. Australian figures are on that page as well and show much the same.

Are you comparing cost per mwh at the generation source or at the site of consumption? The advantage of small solar is that the 2 things are the same. With generators, you lose massive amounts of energy in transmitting it between the generator and the home, which losses obviously don’t occur when the generator is at the home.

howeph 4:20 pm 14 Jun 13

Martlark said :

howeph said :

Martlark said :

Solar power is among the most expensive ways of producing electricity.

Wrong….[solar power industry quotes]……

WRONG.

From wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source]:

Estimated Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources, 2017

US dollars per megawatt hour for new generating plants which are likely for Australia.

Coal – 99.6
Gas – 68.6
Biomass – 120.2
Wind – 96.8
Solar PV – 156.9

Solar PV is the most expensive. We should be installing gas combined cycle instead and use the savings for something more environmentally useful. Australian figures are on that page as well and show much the same.

So I read your link (did you read the ones that I provided?) and… you are still wrong, and your link proves it.

First regarding the table of figures you posted; Wikepedia says (just above the table) : “Photovoltaics (solar PV) can be used both by distributed residential or commercial users and utility scale power plants. The costs shown are for utility scale photovoltaic power plants.”

I.e. if you want to make a big utility power station then Solar PV is still more expense (i.e. wholesale) where as the article that we are discussing is ROOF TOP SOLAR. In which case Solar PV is at or better than parity now.

Further, under the section titled “Photovoltaics” it goes on to say:

Photovoltaic prices have fallen from $76.67/Watt in 1977 to an estimated $0.74/Watt in 2013, for crystalline silicon solar cells. This is seen as evidence supporting Swanson’s law, an observation similar to the famous Moore’s Law that states that solar cell prices fall 20% for every doubling of industry capacity.

As of 2011, the price of PV modules per MW has fallen by 60% since the summer of 2008, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates, putting solar power for the first time on a competitive footing with the retail price of electricity in a number of sunny countries; an alternative and consistent price decline figure of 75% from 2007 to 2012 has also been published, though it is unclear whether these figures are specific to the United States or generally global. The levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from PV is competitive with conventional electricity sources in an expanding list of geographic regions, particularly when the time of generation is included, as electricity is worth more during the day than at night. There has been fierce competition in the supply chain, and further improvements in the levelised cost of energy for solar lie ahead, posing a growing threat to the dominance of fossil fuel generation sources in the next few years. As time progresses, renewable energy technologies generally get cheaper, while fossil fuels generally get more expensive.

As of 2011, the cost of PV has fallen well below that of nuclear power and is set to fall further.

I think that you have been rather selective in your quoting.

As I said, only a few years ago you would have been correct, solar PV was expensive. However it isn’t any more.

aidan 3:49 pm 14 Jun 13

Martlark said :

howeph said :

Martlark said :

Solar power is among the most expensive ways of producing electricity.

Wrong….[solar power industry quotes]……

WRONG.

From wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source]:

You should have read a bit more

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grid_parity#Pricing_solar

The costs you quote are generation AT SOURCE. We’re talking about generating electricity at your own home. And we’re also comparing what we can generate it for compared to retail costs. As that link above shows, we’re at grid parity now.

The problem is storage. Even someone with a massive PV array can’t generate at night. Essentially the grid for them is just a limitless battery. The grid owners then have to price access to that grid based on this usage pattern. Currently the cost of the grid is mostly subsumed into the price per kWh. This model is fast becoming broken. Rather than fix it properly and price access to the grid based on what it actually costs to provide the grid they have chosen to play silly buggers and make it as unattractive as possible to install solar PV.

howeph 3:20 pm 14 Jun 13

Diggety said :

Like I said years ago, feed in tariffs are problimatic for solar and are not the correct kind of subsidy.

Why are they problematic? What do you think is the correct kind of subsidy? Or do just think that there should be no subsidies?

I think that feed in tariffs, around the world but particularly in Germany, have been hugely successful. It has been the feed in tariffs that have driven demand for Solar PV which in turn has brought the price down quicker that it would otherwise have done.

And now that the price is down the feed in tariffs can be reduced (Green’s position) or eliminated (Labor’s position)… perfect.

Can anyone describe what the ACT Liberal’s position on the feed in tariffs is? That we shouldn’t have done anything… that the market will fix it?

Diggety said :

Large scale solar projects are unlikley to go ahead or be bogged down by budget over runs.

Maybe, maybe not. Are these reasons to do nothing?

Martlark 3:14 pm 14 Jun 13

howeph said :

Martlark said :

Solar power is among the most expensive ways of producing electricity.

Wrong….[solar power industry quotes]……

WRONG.

From wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source]:

Estimated Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources, 2017

US dollars per megawatt hour for new generating plants which are likely for Australia.

Coal – 99.6
Gas – 68.6
Biomass – 120.2
Wind – 96.8
Solar PV – 156.9

Solar PV is the most expensive. We should be installing gas combined cycle instead and use the savings for something more environmentally useful. Australian figures are on that page as well and show much the same.

howeph 2:57 pm 14 Jun 13

Martlark said :

Solar power is among the most expensive ways of producing electricity.

Wrong.

Not so many years ago you would have been correct but Solar PV has show a staggering decline in cost, and it is set to keep on getting cheaper:

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/graph-of-the-day-solar-powers-massive-cost-drop-57442

Solar PV is at Grid Parity now. (Grid Parity is when the cost of solar electricity – without subsidies – is equal to or lower than the residential electricity rate):

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-09-07/solar-industry-celebrates-grid-parity/2875592

Cost of solar PV will continue to fall as efficiency goes up and cost of production goes down. Some are predicting wholesale grid parity by 2020:

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/solars-path-to-wholesale-grid-parity-by-2020-2020

Martlark said :

The only good part is that people feel ‘nice’ about having panels on their roofs.

Wrong again.

Rooftop solar PV is only just getting started, but already it is having a measurable impact and starting to worry the traditional power generators:

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/whos-afraid-of-solar-pv-38844

devils_advocate 1:24 pm 14 Jun 13

what about transmission losses?

aidan 11:54 am 14 Jun 13

The current pricing model for electricity providers is broken. They are trying to patch over it, but in the end they’ll have to adopt a different charging model where a realistic price is paid for the access to the network. That price will have to depend on the capacity of that connection to the network.

Of course they’re shit scared of doing this, as it would then look more attractive to be “off-grid”.

The supposed “subsidies” to solar PV installations pale into insignificance compared to the subsidy for those using reverse cycle air-con on hot summer days. $7000 dollars worth of grid infrastructure for every $1500 air con installed.

Read http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/the-hidden-cost-of-infinite-energy-part-1/19/

It’s an eye opener.

Chop71 9:52 am 14 Jun 13

I’m forever into actew for their continual waste of money but the gas plant was a good idea. It was a shame they were trying to instal it amongst the nimby population and not somewhere else where it could have gone ahead.

It would have been a great project for Canberra and satisfied out demand for power.

Diggety 3:46 am 14 Jun 13

Like I said years ago, feed in tariffs are problimatic for solar and are not the correct kind of subsidy.

Large scale solar projects are unlikley to go ahead or be bogged down by budget over runs.

Martlark 10:32 pm 13 Jun 13

Solar power is among the most expensive ways of producing electricity. The only good part is that people feel ‘nice’ about having panels on their roofs.

Mav 9:39 pm 13 Jun 13

I am not sure how any of these solar installation companies are still managing to stay in business, I would think that once this next 2 weeks is over with there will be a lot fewer house owners looking to install solar.

I wonder who would pick up the warranty work on systems that have been installed with long warranties, when the installing companies go belly up?

IrishPete 4:34 pm 13 Jun 13

Put another way, Shane says rooftop solar doesn’t cost much and doesn’t annoy any neighbours, or at worst annoys everyone a tiny little little bit, and Simon says screw the neighbours we’ll put scores of acres of solar panels and associated heavy infrastructure wherever we want. Royalla residents are right to be nervous that this man is in charge of the solar farm across the road from them… He madeup his mind long before the DA was submitted.

IP

1 2 3 6

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site