The government of New South Wales has approved a gross feed–in tariff for rooftop solar systems, thus allowing households and small business who invest capital to build and maintain these systems to sell energy back to the electricity grid – at a premium.
Endorsed by the Australian Conservation Foundation, the ACF says “this is a key step in tackling climate change and is a model that should be replicated nationally”. “The NSW Government’s decision to introduce a gross feed-in tariff for rooftop solar systems is a step forward on tackling climate change and making our homes more energy efficient” the ACF said in a recent interview.
A gross feed–in tariff means that households and small businesses can take advantage of the sunshine that falls in that region.
“If we are to secure a clean, safe energy future for our kids, it is vital we have a strong commitment to renewable energies like solar” said Monica Richter, Manager for ACF’s Sustainable Australia Program. “Solar produces clean reliable energy at times of peak demand, so it makes perfect sense that it (energy from panels) should be priced at a premium rate” she added.
The premium price offered reflects the value of the electricity produced at the time of peak demand and corrects the market failure of paying today’s photovoltaic (PV) owners on a fraction of the peak price.
Internationally, grid connected solar PV is the fastest growing power generation sector. Germany, Japan, Spain and France are big consumers of solar PV. All these countries have feed-in tariffs to support their solar industries.
Recent research by Access Economics for the Electrical Trade Union found a strong national program could generate up to 22,000 additional clean energy jobs over the next 10 years in Australia.