Minister for Climate Change Greg Combet, today announced the government will be phasing out the solar credits multiplier of two small technology certificates (STCs) per megawatt hour, 6 months ahead of schedule effective from January 1, 2013. This is the second time the government has brought forward the scheme which was originally meant to run until 2015.
John Grimes from the Solar Energy Society said that this will have the typical effect of halving the rebate on a 3kw system from $2500 to $1250. In costs to consumers, this will increase prices on a typical system from $6000 to $7250 from the beginning of 2013. This decision means that most Australians installing solar PV after January 1 will receive no additional subsidies from the government, and in most states homeowners will only receive feed in tariffs which vary between states from as little as 6c per megawatt hour.
Greg Combet announced that “Phasing out the (scheme) early will strike the appropriate balance between easing upward pressure on electricity prices and supporting households and suppliers who install solar PV.”
The decision has been blasted by industry groups, whilst many in the solar hot water industry have praised the decision as creating a level playing field for hot water systems and solar pv. The decision has also coincided with intense public lobbying from utilities and generators who have blamed cost blowouts on the government rooftop solar schemes.
The implication now will be a rush to capitalise on the potential savings that will disappear on systems installed after January. For the current STC rebates to apply, customers will have to have their system installed before January 1st, 2013.
The original media release can be found here: http://www.climatechange.gov.au/en/minister/greg-combet/2012/media-releases/November/MR-307-12.aspx
The federal government has made amendments to the Solar Credits FAQ to reflect this latest change: http://www.climatechange.gov.au/en/government/initiatives/renewable-target/need-ret/solar-credits-faq.aspx