Government Reverses Initial Decision to Reduce WA Solar Feed-in Tariffs

Ever since the Western Australia state government has announced its intention of retroactively cutting the feed-in tariffs for Solar WA or solar systems for around 75,000 homes in Western Australia, the government has been flooded with phone calls and emails from affected citizens. This has led the WA government to reverse its earlier decision. Premier Barnett stated that the government made the wrong decision and so the planned reduction will no longer be implemented.

This is good news for many solar system owners across Western Australia, particularly those who bought solar systems during the times when incentives were higher to match the higher installation prices, and those who plan to invest in them. If the earlier decision to reduce feed-in tariffs has been implemented, it would have reduced the solar feed-in tariff rates for those receiving the 40c per kilowatt-hour rate by half. The proposal was supposed to be implemented from October 2013 in order to save money for the state budget.

The short time it took for the initial decision to be reversed was because of the efforts of 100% Renewable Energy and Solar Citizens, together with renewable energy advocates. Almost 9,000 people signed the petition as a sign of protest to the WA government’s initial decision.

This recent turn of events also gives assurance to other solar system owners in other parts of Australia that the government cannot easily overturn the commitments of renewable energy advocates. As Nigel Morris of Solar Business Services stated, renewable energy advocates were able to demonstrate that governments should be held accountable for their promises. In the same sentiment, Dr. Geoff Evans of Solar Citizen also noted that it was absurd for a Government program to be reversed without any consequences. The same thing happened in the South Wales, when the NSW government attempted to roll back the Solar Bonus Scheme rates last May 2011, but was met with heated criticisms from the citizens.  This attempt also ended in failure. Premier Barnett on the other hand commented that they appreciate the commitment people have towards renewable energy.

This just shows how widespread solar system ownership has influenced the public view on renewable energy. To date, there are over 1 million residences with solar systems installed. Those households that opted for the 40c per kilowatt-hour rate initially offered by WA government chose to do so when the system prices were higher compared to the solar rates today because of the higher incentive.

This generous incentive is no longer applicable today, but this should not stop you from getting Solar quotes Perth or in investing in solar panels. Of course, the government incentives motivate people to invest in solar panels. However, other than the financial incentives, people should also realize their contribution to the clean energy transition happening in Australia.

You should also know that tariffs and rebates are not the only clean energy programs by the government. In fact, just recently, the WA government announced the solar public housing program, which will install solar PVs on 500 properties at a cost of $1M.

The Author

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.

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