Page 2581 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

How does this fit into it? Because it is going to be, presumably, a significantly larger solar farm, it will receive a lower return. And it is artificial; it artificially pushes people towards less efficient, small-scale production. When you put a solar cell on a roof it is not always ideally oriented or tilted; you have to keep it clean; you have to keep it at an optimal running temperature. All of these things militate against efficiency.

The solar farms that you see in Spain are cooperatively owned, owned by individuals. They are up to 30 per cent more efficient than the same level of array on a roof, and that is because they follow the sun, they track, they are maintained, they are kept clean. Because they are tracking the sun, you can reduce the build up of heat in the silicon so that the silicon operates more effectively. Some of those arrays in Spain are now hundreds of kilowatts at a time. But each of those sets of arrays is owned by individuals.

If you are going to have a large array, this process, as it currently stands, militates against the possibility of cooperative ownership of solar farms so that there is more incentive to have a less efficient solar array on your roof than to go and invest that amount of money in a more efficient solar array in a solar farm out the back of Belconnen or somewhere like that. This is the problem with this legislation. When we occupy the government benches after October, this is one of the things that will be looked at.

We do not want to militate against cooperative ownership, as this legislation does. It is an unintended consequence, but I think Mr Gentleman just does not get it.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (12.13): Briefly, it is really important that there be every incentive possible to encourage the whole sector other than the domestic sector to get involved in this scheme. One of the comments about the new data centre, for instance, made by me and by ACTPLA in its informal comments on the first proposal was that it would make a lot of sense to use these huge new roofs for solar panels. You would think ActewAGL, as an electricity supplier, would think of that, would you not? We should be doing whatever we can with this legislation to encourage major schemes as well as, frankly, encouraging our voters to set up their own little mini solar power or other renewable energy schemes.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (12.14): I want to come back to this point that I think, unfortunately, Mrs Dunne may have missed and that is that the whole premise of this legislation is for those investing in renewable energy to redeem their capital outlay. As I explained earlier, if you have a small capital outlay it takes less time to pay it off of course; and a large capital outlay, perhaps a longer time to pay it off. We have seen that larger constructed renewable energy generators cost less per unit; so the capital outlay is retrieved over a shorter time.

We have put these three steps in to give a balance between people that are putting perhaps a personal capital outlay on their own homes and those that are doing it for a commercial purpose. We want to see the capital return in around the same time. As I have said, it costs less for larger systems; so they will retrieve now, under this stepped approach, a repay of the capital outlay in about the same time it takes for smaller generators.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .