“The Rann Government’s tardiness in changing its solar feed-in bonus scheme will cost households with solar PV cells at least $800,000 – with potential lost revenue increasing $5,000 per day”, says SA Greens Mark Parnell MLC.

“On the 31 August 2010 (after sitting on a consultant’s report for 6 months), Premier Rann finally announced a long overdue increase in the solar feed-in scheme rate from 44c/kWh to 54c/kWh, as well as obligating retailers to pay an additional minimum rate for the power they receive from the owners of solar panels”.

“Yet, the Government didn’t move to change the law before Parliament finished for 2010.  This leaves Feb 8 2011 (when Parliament returns) as the earliest date the law change can occur, with June 2011 shaping up as a more likely timeframe”.

“In the meantime, solar households will continue on the lower rate of pay for the power they export to the grid over the sun-rich summer. This will cost households with PV solar between $800,000 (Feb 8 2011) and $1.5 million (June 30 2011) – at a rate of around $5,000/day for the 18,000 or so households with PV solar”.

If the new scheme rate only kicks off in July 2011, an average solar household will miss out on about $90-100 in revenue.

“While Premier Rann is talking up South Australia’s green energy credentials in Cancun, he hasn’t delivered on the promises he’s made back home,” said Greens MLC Mark Parnell.

“In August, after pressure from the Greens and solar householders, the Rann Government finally agreed to increase the rate of their solar feed-in bonus scheme, and to fix up a rip-off that allowed retailers to potentially avoid paying customers for the power they produced.

“Yet, months later with Parliament closed for the year; there is still no sign of the required legislative action.

“Every day that the Government delays costs households who invest in solar panels about $5,000. 

“If the law change doesn’t occur until the middle of next year, an average solar household will be about $100 worse off,” he said.

The Greens have strongly pushed for a national gross feed-in scheme for solar and other alternative energy sources.  Experience overseas has backed feed-in schemes as an effective and efficient way to transform the electricity grid towards cleaner options.

“Ideally we need a strong and consistent national feed-in scheme to drive investment in green energy,” said Mr Parnell.

“But until that occurs, the SA Government needs to fix up their state scheme to ensure South Australian households who have done the right thing by investing in solar power get a fair return for the clean electricity they produce,” he said. 

Fast facts:

No. of SA households with PV solar on roof (as at 31 Aug 2010) = over 18,000

Average solar output exported from each household = 1100 kWh

(ave. size of system x ave. output from panels – taking into account the SA ‘net’ scheme where only power exported to the grid attracts the higher rate)

Announced increase in rate of SA feed-in scheme = 54 – 44c/kWh = 10c/kWh

To work out how much households are losing from the delay:

18,000 x 1100 x 10c = $1,980,000 / year = $5,425 / day