Tasmanian solar feed-in tariff decision
Much like Western Australia's decision to retain the same rate for solar feed-in participants in the state, the Tasmanian government has also pledged to keep things the way they are - for now - for solar users in the state.
Existing solar power users currently number around 15,100 in Tasmania. These users will get to keep their current rate, which is now to be locked in for five years.
"All existing customers will continue to receive the feed-in tariff at the current rate until 1 January, 2019," said Deputy Premier Bryan Green.
He also said that this decision will protect those who have invested in solar energy who currently receive a 1:1 feed-in tariff rate. That is, investors earn the same rate for energy they export to the grid as the households pay to buy it.
There had been protests and calls for certainty from solar users and advocates leading up to the state's transition to full retail competition in its energy market which is happening next year, as there was speculation this could lead to negative consequences for solar users. Now this fear has been put to rest.
"We have listened to the feedback from industry, customers and climate change advocates and believe we've got the balance right," said Mr Green.
"This will ensure existing customers are treated fairly in light of the capital investments they have made under the current system."
Mr Green recommended that solar customers carefully look into how the feed-in tariff affects them, and make sure that all necessary applications have been filed before August 30.
Clean Energy Council (CEC) Deputy Chief Executive Kane Thornton has congratulated the Tasmanian government for its decision. He acknowledged that many people have been anxiously awaiting any changes, but are now left feeling reassured.
He also highlighted that the solar PV industry provides almost 500 full-time jobs in Tasmania, and the state has been quickly clocking up more and more solar panel users. Additionally, he said that many households have installed solar panels in mortgage-belt, regional and retiree areas in order to shelter themselves from harsh electricity prices - so it's extra important these groups aren't negatively impacted by any changes.
For these reasons, Tasmanians are likely to be celebrating that their solar feed-in tariff will remain the same, at least for the next five years.
Posted by Charlie Moore