The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s (IPART) ignorance of the value that home solar power systems contribute to Australia’s energy mix seems to be showing again. According to a report published in The Telegraph , IPART sent a submission to Energy Minister Martin Ferguson this week containing a call to end the Solar Credits multiplier, claiming that the scheme is not achieving emissions reductions or renewable energy production at minimum cost.
IPART was severely criticised for its lack of understanding regarding the benefits of small-scale rooftop solar panel systems. This is following the release of what it considered a “fair and reasonable” value for solar electricity exported to the mains grid.
Assuming The Telegraph report is correct, IPART should have also been aware it will will soon get its wish – the Solar Credits rebate will be slashed 33% in the near future, and then in July 2013, it will effectively no longer exist. The multiplier upon which the rebate is based will be dropped to 1.
Renewable energy technologies, such as solar power, are competing against fossil fuels that have been heavily subsidised for decades in various forms, and still are. This support does not come from thin air; it is paid for by taxpayers or by important community services which are not receiving the funding they need to operate effectively.
It’s not a situation unique to Australia. In the USA, the fossil fuel industry has been riding the subsidy gravy train for a very long time. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s,” said U.S President Obama said in his 2011 State of the Union speech.
Every new energy industry has required some form of subsidisation in its infancy and the fact that home solar power is approaching grid parity – without subsidisation – with these heavily-subsidised and polluting fossil fuels, is testimony to its economic street cred and value.
A helping hand to get there won’t be wasted – or of course there is always the option of removing more support from the fossil fuel industry and creating a level playing field.
by Australian Solar Quotes
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