What's happening in Queensland?
Solar programs in Queensland have been through a bit of a wild ride over recent months, but the solar-coaster isn't quite over yet.
New analysis by Sunwiz shows that Queensland solar owners may yet be penalised to the tune of $200 a year for connecting to the grid.
The story so far
More than 300,000 homes across Queensland have now installed solar, many of them responding to incentives from the government to help them reduce their power bills and produce more clean energy.
Between 2008 to December 2012 total installed PV capacity in Queensland grew by a massive 80 times from from 9.5 MW to 763.9 MW.
Despite the huge popularity of solar in mid 2012 the QLD government announced it was substantially cutting tariffs that paid solar owners for the power they provided to the grid. And a subsequent report commissioned by the government recommended that QLD solar owners be charged a fix tariff to be connected to the grid, amongst a range of other recommendations.
Following a huge community outcry the government backed down, with the Queensland Energy Minister promised there would be “no fixed charge of any sort on people using solar”.
But whats the problem now?
While Energy Minister McArdle promised no new fixed charge, he is still considering other aspects of the report, including introducing a new tariff that would see solar homes pay $200 more a year than any other energy consumer.
The Queensland Competition Authority’s (QCA)‘Estimating a Fair and Reasonable Solar Feed-in Tariff for Queensland’ recommendations are clearly not fair for solar owners. In particular it recommendations that:
- there be no mandated minimum feed-in tariff for new solar customers, and
- solar generators who export to the network must purchase power from the network at higher prices than other customers,.
Solar owners are the only consumers in Queensland who will be obliged to buy power at time-of-use rates - meaning an increase of $200 on annual electricity bills.
This is like charging people extra because they didn’t use enough internet bandwidth or because they didn’t buy enough groceries at the supermarket.
So what needs to happen
While the Queensland Government is currently considering the recommendations of the QCA, and now is the time to tell the Premier, Campbell Newman, to reject unfair treatment of solar.
Premier Newman should, instead, commit to:
- ensure there is no discrimination against solar power exporters in the price they must pay for electricity
- legislate a mandated minimum feed-in tariff paid to solar owners for power exported from solar systems to the network.
Together solar owners have already made their voices heard. Now it's time to do it again.
Please sign the petition calling for Premier Newman to ensure no unfair discrimination of solar so that together we can make sure Queensland continues to be the sunshine state - and all Queenslanders can have access to clean, cheap power from the sun.