Why Renewable Energy Makes a LOT of Sense

At a time when New South Wales desperately needs jobs and businesses, the renewable energy industry was dealt a harsh blow by the Federal Government.

The guts of the renewable energy industry on the Far South Coast were ripped by the decision of the State Government to end the 60 cent feed-in tariff in 2011. This move efficiently dampened the energy of households using solar systems. Instead of rewarding them with the energy they put back to the grid they were instead penalized by cutting off their incentives.

In the aftermath, 14,000 jobs all over NSW went down the drain. There were massive lay-offs in most of the local companies leaving just one or two employees to man each business.

Renewable Energy in Narooma

This situation is welcomed by energy retailers. They are getting back their power for free. However, with the feed-in tariff falling back to zero, the hapless homeowners who have installed Narooma solar panels and Solarlink panels (with very reasonable solar power quotes) and have fed power back to the grid were not being compensated for their contributions.

But Solarlink is not giving up without a fight. It is coming out with exclusive offers of 35 cent feed-in tariff (free of government intrusions) for the course of the three-year contract for photovoltaic panels that it installs. Austin Vaughn, owner of Solarlink laments that other Australian states are also reducing their feed-in tariffs. That leaves ACT as the only entity that pays a reasonable tariff to households which gives the grid the excess electricity they produce.

Solarlink has the capability to install solar systems from 1.5 kW to 10 kW. With solar power quotes of 35 cent feed-in tariff, it is easy for a homeowner to get back his investment in three or four years. After that, his power bills will be zero. This is an incentive that is very hard to pass off. Consumers who get the concept readily sign the contract with Vaughn’s company. And if the government officials and energy retailers will also see the light and adopt this scheme, homeowners will even have a shorter time to recoup the initial cost of their solar systems.

But according to Austin Vaughn, educating homeowners about the right system for their energy needs is their biggest challenge. Overcoming the wrong notion under the old system of State based feed-in tariff incentives is another one.

Homeowners also have the wrong impression that those not using solar systems are subsidizing those who are enjoying the 60 cent feed-in tariff. But this is not true. In reality, energy retailers are benefitting from users of solar systems. Vaughn’s company has the solutions to these challenges and it is the consumer who will ultimately benefit.

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Vaughn added that it would be fair if the feed-in tariffs are based on market prices. He is wondering why Australians are not being compensated like those in other countries like Europe for using renewable energy. For his part, his company and perhaps Narooma solar are offering generous feed-in tariff, even without government support.

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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