Page 746 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 17 March 2015

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days of July 2011 when the scheme was open to new applicants it offered a combined feed-in tariff of 30.16c per kilowatt-hour for all installations up to 200 kilowatts in capacity.

The act has been very successful in meeting its objectives. It has done much to promote renewable energy generation and diversify the territory’s energy supply. It has also made a major contribution to mitigating climate change and reducing the ACT’s exposure to fossil fuel price volatility. In the eight years before the act began operating, just 24 kilowatts of rooftop solar was installed in the ACT.

But in 2009, when the act came into operation, this rose to 1,967 kilowatts. In 2010 it rose again to 5,224 kilowatts. Then in 2011, the year the feed-in tariff scheme closed, it reached 16,789 kilowatts. By the end of 2011, there was 24,000 kilowatts of rooftop solar capacity in the ACT spread over 10,000 roofs. Solar had come of age in the ACT.

By 2011 the cost of rooftop solar was significantly cheaper than it had been in earlier years and the ACT’s rooftop capacity continued to expand, though at a slower rate than in earlier years. Between December 2011 and December 2013, a further 20,000 kilowatts of rooftop solar capacity was added. There are now 15,400 roofs with panels on them in the territory.

These statistics mean that around one in every nine households in the ACT has solar. Together, they generate 62,000 megawatt-hours of electricity, which is an amount equal to around two per cent of our total annual electricity consumption. Some suburbs now have more than 200 rooftop solar systems in place, including suburbs as diverse as Wanniassa, Nicholls, Monash, Kambah, Kaleen, Gordon and Dunlop. Kambah has the greatest capacity, with over 500 systems, totalling 2,300 kilowatts.

The solar output from all the systems now forms part of the territory’s 90 per cent by 2020 renewable energy target and is helping to contribute to the ACT achieving its legislated greenhouse gas reduction target. The renewable energy target accounts for around three-quarters of the emission reduction needed for us to reach our legislated 2020 greenhouse gas reduction target.

Section 11A of the act requires the responsible minister to publish monthly reports on the following matters: the number of applications for connection during the month; the number of renewable energy generators connected during the month; the total number of renewable energy generators connected to date; and the total capacity of all micro and medium renewable energy generators connected to date. These reports have been published on the website of the Environment and Planning Directorate each month. The Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission also publishes a quarterly small to medium-scale feed-in tariff activity statement each quarter.

Since the closure of the scheme, households and businesses wishing to install solar panels have been able to access market offers from various retailers that reflect a more modest return on their investment. I am pleased to say that the closure of the feed-in tariff scheme coincided with a period of rapid cost reduction for solar panels. So we have continued to see a good rate of solar installation in the ACT. Whichever way you

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