Sunday, November 23, 2008

Households to be paid for solar power

ABC News Online, Posted 3 hours 57 minutes ago

New South Wales households will become the last in the country to be paid by a state government to feed their spare solar electricity back into the power grid.

State Climate Change Minister Carmel Tebbutt yesterday told ABC TV that the Government would pay a "feed-in tariff" for solar power not used by the household.

"What sort of return people get will depend on how sunny it is, will depend on how much electricity they can return to the grid," she said.

Ms Tebbutt said the surplus power sent back to the electricity grid could attract a tariff of up to 60 cents per kilowatt, four times the cost of producing conventional electricity.

NSW is the last state to introduce the policy. It will come into effect next year, with the amount paid to be determined by a special taskforce.

Ms Tebbutt says the tariff would eventually cover the costs of installing solar energy panels.

"There's already a rebate that's available from the Federal Government for solar panels and what a feed-in tariff does, it allows people to pay off the cost of installing solar panels much more quickly," she said.

"But it's also important to note that it does return electricity back to the grid. That's a really positive thing. It will help us also meet our renewable energy targets."

Clean Green Council spokeswoman Andrea Gaffney says the plan could dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to pay off buying solar technology.

"We certainly welcome the announcement by the Government and are looking forward to working with them to finalise that particular program and scheme," she said.

Ms Gaffney says it should be extended to industry.

"We certainly would encourage governments to expand it to the community sector, to the commercial sector, to the industrial precincts," she said.

"Once the industries start to deploy hundreds of panels at a time, then we start moving down the cost curve a lot quicker and it makes solar PV panels a lot cheaper for everybody. "

The Climate Change Minister will announce the tariff today.

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