Tuesday, October 14, 2008

'Sunshine State' outstripped on solar power

ABC News Online, Posted Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:00pm AEDT 

Updated 6 hours 43 minutes ago


Queensland has the second lowest rate in the country of solar panel installations, despite a new rebate scheme being introduced by the State Government in July.

One solar panel unit has been installed per 2,112 people in Queensland since the Federal Government's $8,000 rebate scheme was introduced in 2000.

This rate of take-up compares with one per 1,548 in Tasmania, one per 1,753 in New South Wales and one per 455 in South Australia.

Only Western Australia has a lower rate, with one unit installed per 3,804 people.

The Queensland Government introduced its own rebate in July, and 350 people have taken advantage of it in the three months since then.

While it may be too early to judge its effectiveness, this rate of take-up compares favourably with the average rate of 65 per quarter since 2000.

But critics of the Queensland rebate scheme say it does little to encourage people to install solar panel systems.

The rebate scheme uses what is known as a "net" feed-in tariff, which pays customers 44 cents per kilowatt hour that is fed back into the power grid.

This differs from a "gross" feed-in tariff, which would pay customers an amount for every kilowatt hour of energy they produced, regardless of whether it was fed back onto the power grid or was used in their house.

Queensland Greens MP Ronan Lee - who defected from Labor just over a week ago - told Fairfax more people would install solar panel systems if a "gross" feed-in system was adopted.

"The Government knows that this is the case. They have had access to modelling that shows this is the case," Mr Lee said.

The ABC has contacted Energy Minister Geoff Wilson for comment.

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