Victoria’s proposed clean energy payment scheme, designed to encourage more people to install solar power in their homes, has been roundly condemned by the renewable energy industry.
Energy Minister, Peter Batchelor, has announced Victoria will pay households with solar electricity systems installed on their roofs a premium of 60 cents per kilowatt hour of energy fed back into the grid.
While this is the most offered by any state in Australia, both Queensland and South Australia offer 45 cents per kilowatt hour, clean energy groups have accused the government of deliberately designing a payment scheme that will not lead to a rapid uptake of solar power.
Clean energy payment schemes, known as feed-in tariffs, pay consumers who install solar electricity systems in their homes above retail prices for excess energy produced.
Peter Batchelor said the new feed-in tariffs would enable people to pay off the cost of solar installation in less than ten years.
Spokesman for the Alternative Technology Association, Brad Shone said “less than 10 years” claim was "so far from the truth it was not funny". That would need a payment rate of at least $2, he said.
Jeremy Rich, Managing Director of Australian renewable energy company, Energy Matters , said the Victorian government should “stop pretending,” and instead follow the lead of other successful tariff schemes around the world.
“The proposed net metering will only offer payment for the spare energy returned to the grid. This means that the feed-in tariff model, which is so successful in Europe and many other countries, will be watered down to the point that it becomes meaningless,” he said.
Jeremy Rich added, “the government is misleading Victorians by making them think they are encouraging renewables and solar power, when in fact this proposed feed-in tariff will do very little to encourage solar energy uptake. Why can’t they adopt a tried and tested gross model like the rest of the world?”
Environment Victoria campaigns director, Mark Wakeham, said the Government had "shunned the experience of 40 countries internationally".