Solar Citizens calls on AEMC to block imposition of export fees
Solar Citizens, a national organisation advocating for rooftop solar owners, has expressed dismay at proposals under consideration by the Australian Energy Market Commission that would see solar owners charged for providing power to the grid.
Currently, the Australian Energy Rules prevent people generating power from being charged to access the network. St Vincent’s and the South Australian Power Network are proposing a change to the rules that would allow network operators to impose charges on solar households for exporting to the grid, claiming that households without solar are subsidising those with panels.
However, research by the Victoria Energy Policy Centre finds that rooftop solar panels bring down power prices for all energy consumers. The VEPC analysed the bills of 7,200 Victorian homes with rooftop solar and found that even the relatively low penetration of rooftop solar in that State brought prices down by $6.4/MWh, 8% off the wholesale price of electricity in 2019.
‘Rooftop solar benefits all energy consumers by providing cheap power to the grid and bringing down prices for all consumers. We should be encouraging more people to get solar, not imposing greater financial costs on them,’ said Solar Citizens National Director Ellen Roberts.
‘Big coal and gas generators aren’t charged for exporting their power to the grid, so why should we be slugging Australian families with panels on their roofs who are providing cheap power to their neighbours?'
‘Consumer groups concerned about equity and welfare should be doing all they can to promote the uptake of rooftop solar, not seeking to undermine it.
‘The AEMC is considering three rule changes at once, and there’s plenty to support in the proposal from Total Environment Centre and Australian Council of Social Services. But any blanket imposition of fees on solar households will work to benefit the big coal and gas generators who will sell more power if solar exports are no longer viable.’