August 26, 2007 (Updated August 18, 2008)
By Paul Gipe
South Australia has released a draft of a modest, some would say timid, solar PV feed-in tariff that will be introduced into the state’s parliament.
Premier Mike Rann announced 13 August that he would introduce the Electricity (Feed-In Scheme – Residential Solar Systems) Bill 2007 into the state assembly.
Update: In mid 2008, the Electricity (Feed-In Scheme—Solar Systems) Amendment Bill 2008 went into effect. The final bill remains a net-metering bill with a payment for excess generation. This is not a feed-in tariff bill despite the name.
Rann’s proposal would pay $0.44 AUD/kWh for electricity feed into the grid in excess of domestic consumption for a period of twenty years for single-phase systems up to 10 kW and three-phase systems up to 30 kW. The program is limited to utilities with more than 10,000 domestic customers and is open only to solar PV and to no other technologies. Participant consumption must all be less than 160,000 kWh/year.
The program is for 20 years, that is it runs from 2008 until 2018. Excess tariffs are paid only for this period.
As such South Australia’s proposal is less a feed-in tariff than a variation on net-metering. Further, the proposal pays a fraction of the tariffs in other countries and has a very small program cap.
If enacted, Rann’s proposal, would place Australia at the bottom of countries offering feed-in tariffs worldwide. For more information see http://www.climatechange.sa.gov.au/news/news_5.htm.
Australia’s federal government also offers a federal cash subsidy of $8,000 AUD for solar PV installations.