As there’s quite a few fellow Aussies visiting Green Living Tips, I just wanted to flag a petition I’m involved with at FeedInTariff.com.au. Just for the sake of disclosure, I’m also a consultant for Energy Matters; a renewable energy company.
Australia’s renewable energy industry is certainly growing, particularly solar power; but one of the major barriers is cost.
It’s going to be some time before home solar power is as economical as mains grid power, so the Australian government needs to be encouraging folks to install solar power systems through rebates and other incentives.
The Australian government currently offers an $8,000 solar rebate, but that’s limited to families with incomes of under $100,000. However, at the end of June this year, that rebate will be replaced with the Solar Credits program which will be open to all.
This greatly reduces the cost of a system, but people still need to fork out a lot of cash. That’s where feed in tariffs come in. A feed in tariff pays a grid connected solar power system owner for electricity they export to the mains grid. The amount paid is usually above market value.
In countries such as Germany, the rate paid is very high and what that’s done is to stimulate huge activity in the solar sector there as people are making money from having a system installed, which goes towards offsetting the cost of the system.. and then some in many cases.
While various states do offer feed in tariff programs in Australia, most of them are confusing and little more than token gestures. Australia needs a simple nationalised, uniform gross feed in tariff system to really get solar power kicking along – but the danger is that our government may implement a national program without any teeth. It really places too much focus on the coal industry, seeing “clean coal” (which is an oxymoron, there’s no such thing) as of primary importance. Coal has had it’s day, it’s time to move on to cleaner, proven technologies such as wind and solar.
That’s where FeedInTariff.com.au comes in – we just launched it a couple of hours ago. We’re gathering signatures and comments at the moment to present to various government departments regarding how a feed in tariff program *should* work.
If you’re an Aussie, please get involved, either by signing or perhaps flagging the petition on your blog, social network profile or however else possible :). This will benefit everyone in Australia by reducing the cost of solar power, stimulating the local renewable energy industry and also help us meet our renewable energy targets!