Posts Tagged ‘Solar Feed-In-Tariff’

24 March

Australian State Feed-In-Tariffs

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers, (Please click on red links below),

Solar Panel w/Cloud (credit: sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker). This design is also available at www.sunisthefuture.com

To continue our series of discussion on Australian Solar Incentives, in addition to Australian Federal Solar Incentives, most states also offer support for solar and other renewables via Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) schemes. Under the FIT scheme owners are paid for each unit of power that they export to the electricity grid. The FIT rates offered range from zero to as much as  66c or 68c per kWh. Most Australian states and territory governments either currently have or previously had a Solar Feed-In-Tariff  (Solar FIT) (also known as a Solar Bonus Scheme or Solar Buy-Back Scheme) in place. A uniform federal scheme to supersede all State schemes has been proposed by Tasmanian Greens Senator Christine Milne, but not enacted. National feed-in tariff systems have been enacted in numerous countries including Brazil, Canada, China and many EU countries.

There have been many changes to Feed-In-Tariff legislation in all Australian states and territories within the past two years. For an overview of these state incentives offered, please see the summary table of Australian State Government Feed-In-Tariffs Schemes, available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feed-in_tariffs_in_Australia

Feed-in-Tariffs were introduced by a number of states in Australia to increase the amount of solar PV power generated. They can be classified by a number of factors including the price paid, whether it is on a net or gross export basis, the length of time payments are guaranteed, the maximum size of installation allowed and the type of customer allowed to participate. The Solar Feed-In-Tariff schemes currently available in Australia are predominantly “net” schemes. A net Feed-In-Tariff rewards one for each unit of solar power that one had exported to the electrical grid. The governments of New South Wales (NSW), Victoria (VIC), South Australia (SA), and Queensland (QLD) are operating under net Feed-In-Tariff scheme. Net FIT’s generally pay comparatively little to the producer (generally a household) because electricity produced by solar photovoltaic or other renewable energy just offsets the producer’s usage. Net FIT’s are referred to as “fake feed-in tariff” and is actually net metering, with a monthly payment for net generation, instead of the normal roll over. Gross tariffs conform to the normal definition of a feed-in tariff, and provide a more certain financial return, paying for all electricity produced, even if it is consumed by the producer, reducing or helping meet peak demand. If you are still not clear about the difference between gross vs net feed-in-tariff, think of net feed-in-tariff as having a cap on the amount of energy one can sell back to the grid at the level of one’s energy consumption whereas gross feed-in-tariff does not have such a cap. Many Australian state feed-in tariffs were net export tariffs, whereas conservation groups argued for gross feed-in tariffs. In March 2009, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) started a solar gross feed-in tariff. For systems up to 10 kW the payment was 50.05 cents per kWh. For systems from 10 kW to 30 kW the payment was 40.04 cents per kWh. The payment was revised downward once before an overall capacity cap was reached and the scheme closed. Payments are made quarterly based on energy generated and the payment rate is guaranteed for 20 years.

The ACT , TAS, and New South Wales have  or had gross feed-in tariffs. Other State Governments have enacted net feed-in tariff schemes which have been criticised for not providing enough incentive for households to install solar panels and thus for not effectively encouraging the uptake of solar PV.

Australian FIT laws tend to focus on providing support to solar PV particularly in the residential context, and project limits on installed capacity (such as 10kW in NSW) mean effectively that FITs do not support large scale projects such as wind farms or solar thermal power stations.

Solar FITs are one of the key incentive mechanism for the promotion of renewable energy generation across the globe. Through FITs, Germany was able to become the world leader in rooftop solar power. China has also introduced a national FIT program in an effort to expand domestic demand for solar PV systems.

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Related link/URL:

Feed-In-Tariff

Decarbonisation on the Cheap, How an Electricity Efficiency Feed-In-Tariff Can Cut Energy Costs

Why FITs (from Alliance For Renewable Energy)

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26 September

In Light of Scottish/UK Solar FIT, Don’t Forget Solar Thermal !!!

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Dear Friends & Viewers/Visitors/Readers,

(please click on red links, below)

During this month of September, right before covering the Solar Decathlon Europe 2012, we took a detour to visit my sister-in-law currently residing in the community of Forres of Scotland.   Forres is a town situated in the north of Scotland on the Moray coast, approximately 25 miles east of Inverness. Forres has been a winner of the Scotland in Bloom award on several occasions. There are many geographical and historical attractions nearby such as the River Findhorn, and there are many historical artifacts and monuments within the town itself.  I call it a community because of the people I’ve met while visiting;they struck me as very grounded individuals with keen sense for their community’s welfare.  Besides some lovely characters who are working to start  transition community projects (community gardening, food coop, community newsletter, classes, etc.), I’ve  also had the opportunity to learn from a group of helpful people working at AES Solar Systems, who have been manufacturing solar thermal (solar hot water heating systems) since 1979.  It was an eye-opening (and/or ear-opening) experience for me to find out the initial impact of Solar Feed-In-Tariff on their business.  Below, is the round table discussion by AES Solar Systems’ experts in the solar industry (especially in solar thermal or solar hot water heating system),  Campbell MacLennan, George Goudsmit, and Tristan Wolfe, and moderator Susan Sun Nunamaker:


It is important to keep in mind Tristan Wolfe’s comment regarding people getting into solar PV without having  considered the even more optimal purchase of solar thermal (solar hot water heating systems).   Perhaps consulting experts in the field prior to making any decision would be well advised.

In the process, I hope that my learned lessons/offered suggestions will be considered by countries that had not yet implemented solar FIT yet. Below, are such:

  1. The cost of Solar Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program would be best not coming from the government subsidies but  from the rate payers (consumers) in a tiered fashion, such that those of lowest tier (lowest power consumption and/or income) would not need to pay for the added cost due to solar FIT.   Rest of the electricity consumers would bear a slight increase in their annual bills proportionally thus allowing electricity utilities to buy renewable energy generated from green sources at above-market rates set by the government.
  2. It would be advisable to start the Solar FIT low, close to the avoided cost level, then gradually increase the feed-in rate according to the need. So to be able to approach the situation carefully and cautiously, and  reassess the situation (optimal Feed-In rate) at specific intervals  to avoid budget/financial difficulties.
  3. It seems feasible/optimal to introduce regulation to require solar thermal (solar hot water heating systems) when/where it is already a foregone conclusion that this would be an economically feasible approach in building design, with or without incentive program such as feed-in-tariff.  Perhaps it is time to start the discussion in considering implementing this as part of the building code.  DO NOT FORGET SOLAR THERMAL !!!  IT IS VERY FEASIBLE TO INSTALL SOLAR HOT WATER HEATING SYSTEMS EVEN BEFORE INSTALLING SOLAR PV !!!

~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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