Solar Panel Rebate Changes – More information

clean-energy-futureMore information has come to hand about the government’s proposed changes to federally managed solar incentives, known as STCs or RECs.

Solar rebates are funded by large coal power stations, large power users, and a modest contribution from all electricity bills – not the budget.  These incentives for installing solar panels have led to many Sydney families going solar, mostly in less affluent areas. Now, changes to the solar rebates are planned.

Some of the changes  to PV rebates can be done without going to the senate, such as changing the period of time solar panels are expected to work for (this would reduce the amount of STCs, or credits, that a system would be eligible for). Some other changes, such as abolishing the Renewable Energy Target, would need Senate approval.

A variety of perspectives exist 

A selection of commentators have said that the government will not make changes, because the change will be unpopular – and because the review found this program to actually lower wholesale electricity prices in the short term, and lead to lower retail prices in the long term. However, it needs to be remembered that the government started this rebate review without any demand from the electorate. One could concluded that it is payback for support from the powerful friends that operate coal power stations.

The government has shown a strong willingness to implement things that the Prime Minister feels is important (such as Dukes and Dames, for example) even when the people on the street are not concerned. They have also been shown to skilfully move the media with them, even when their position is not supported by the facts.

Our prediction for solar rebate changes

We think that for large programs, such as for big solar farms, these will be closed to new entrants.  Unfortunately for jobs and investment, this will be the biggest blow.

On the household solar panels side, we think the annual target for renewable energy certificates will be reduced. At the same time, we believe they will reduce the number of certificates available from 15 years of certificates to 5 years or 10 years.  The likely effect is to reduce by 1/3 to 2/3rds the number of certificates a system would be eligible for. This will reduce the support per kilowatt from $750 to between $250 and $500.

We think this change will be announced in September 2014

Other sources of information 

Considering solar

If you are considering solar at the moment, we suggest you get in touch to discuss your options. In the past, the government has allowed those with a contract & deposit to continue enjoying the rebates available at the time customers signed on.

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