Page 3325 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 22 September 2015
generation of electricity from renewable energy sources; two, to reduce the ACT’s contribution to human-induced climate change; three, to diversify the ACT’s energy supply; and, four, to reduce the ACT’s vulnerability to long-term price volatility in relation to fossil fuel supply.
The scheme was closed to new applicants on 13 July 2011, with existing applicants prior to that date being required to connect solar installations to the network by 31 December next year. The act provides that applicants with eligible solar installations receive feed-in tariff payments for the period of 20 years from the date of connection.
The feed-in tariffs offered under the act are as follows: between March 2009 and June 2010, 50.05c per kilowatt hour for installations up to 10 kilowatts in capacity, and 40.04c per kilowatt hour for installations greater than 10 kilowatts but no more than 30 kilowatts in capacity.
Between July 2010 and May 2011 these feed-in tariff rates were consolidated into a 45.7c per kilowatt hour rate for installations up to 30 kilowatts in capacity. Between March 2011 and May 2011 a feed-in tariff rate of 34.27c per kilowatt hour applied to installations greater than 30 kilowatts but not greater than 200 kilowatts. For two days in mid-July 2011 when the scheme was opened 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 requires that a review be performed every five years after its commencement, and this is the first of these reviews. The review assesses how successful the act has been in meeting its objectives and considers the impact of costs on electricity users and whether impacts are equitable.
Turning to the key findings of the review, the review includes a number of key findings and highlights the overall success of the scheme. In summary, the scheme has contributed to the rapid growth in solar installations in the ACT. There are now over 10,000 feed-in tariff supported solar installations in 2015 with a combined capacity of 26 megawatts.
The scheme was part of a successful national and international effort to promote and increase the penetration of solar on rooftops and reduce solar costs. During the period of the scheme, installed solar panel costs dropped from approximately $9.62 per watt in 2008-09 to $2.42 per watt in 2010-11. The price reductions for solar installations seen during the period of the scheme were not anticipated.
With the benefit of hindsight, similar rates of solar installation may have been possible with a lower feed-in tariff rate. Further to this, for residential installations, a payment period of less than 20 years may have also driven uptake while lowering scheme costs. But these reductions in the costs of solar were not able to be anticipated at the time that prices for a feed-in tariff were set.
The scheme has not had a major impact on electricity prices in the ACT. In 2013-14 the scheme contributed just 2.3 per cent to retail electricity charges. In the average