Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Solar demand causes delay for ACT households

ABC News Online, Posted Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:42pm AEDT

The ACT Government will announce within weeks the price households will be paid for the solar electricity they generate under the feed-in tariff scheme.

Under the scheme, households with solar panels are expected to receive almost four times the normal price of electricity for the power they generate and feed back into the grid.

However a surge in demand for solar panels has caused lengthy delays for customers.

Installer Phil May says some of his clients are waiting up to three months to have their solar panels connected by ActewAGL.

ActewAGL says demand for connections has increased dramatically with as many requests in the last 12 months as in the preceding five years.

The company says the average waiting time is only four weeks.

But Mr May says it is frustrating for customers who have their solar panels sitting idle on their roofs.

"We're putting applications for metering to be done and it's blowing out to a 2.5 to three-month delay," he said.

"Which means that someone can spend $20,000 - $40,000 on a solar panel system for their home but they're not actually able to turn it on for two to three months."

ACT Energy Minister Simon Corbell says before homes can be connected to the grid, both ActewAGL and the ACT Planning and Land Authority (ACTPLA) need to inspect the system.

"We're working hard to make sure that we do have sufficient inspectors to meet demand," he said.

"We know that there is going to be and we are already seeing an increase in demand and ACTPLA currently have seven inspectors and they are looking to increase that number at the moment.

"I know that ActewAGL have not reduced the number of their inspectors and they are also anticipating employing additional inspectors."

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