Monday, 24 November 2008

Devil in details of rooftop solar power deal

The Greens welcomed the intention of the NSW government to announce premium tariffs for rooftop solar panels but warned that the renewable energy industry would only thrive if the payment applied to all the energy generated, not just the amount that makes it past the household appliances.

Greens NSW MP and energy spokesperson John Kaye said: "This will be the third time NSW Climate Change Minister Carmel Tebbutt has proclaimed her government's intention to set up a solar feed-in tariff.

"If this is more than just spin, the Minister will rule out 'net' tariffs that pay only for the energy exported to the grid after household electricity needs have been satisfied.

"So-called 'gross tariffs' that pay for all the power generated by the solar panels provide a steady income stream that helps pay for the up-front costs.

"A well designed tariff will put rooftop solar within the reach of many households and small businesses and provide a much-needed boost to this state's manufacturing and installation businesses.

"However a scheme that fails to pay for all the power generated would be a step backwards.

"With a typical system costing up to $20,000, banks providing finance will be looking for a steady and predictable income stream to pay for the up-front investment.

"Today's announcement will test the Rees government's commitment to renewable energy.

"Having sat on their hands while the nation's largest solar panel manufacturer closed down and went overseas, NSW has a long way to go.

"It is essential that the mistakes of Victoria, Queensland and South Australia are not repeated here in NSW.

"The Rees government must get the details right to kick start the renewable energy revolution in this state," Dr Kaye said.

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