Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Jul 17

Canberrans Warm to New Solar Energy Law

Posted in Energy Economy | Energy Industry | Solar Power

Solar Energy Law The new Electricity Feed-in (Renewable Energy Premium) Bill 2008, empowers the Canberrans to generate their own electricity, and the beauty of this bill is they can sell back the excess electricity to the power grid and get paid for it! They will be paid a tariff 3.88 times the retail cost of electricity for 20 years from the date they agreed upon to join the scheme. The government wants to create awareness regarding clean energy and they are using “feed-in tariff” as an incentive. This scheme can prove quite attractive to those who have settled in one place and own houses.

This type of feed-in tariff was first employed by USA in 1978 but it’s a German model. Feed-in tariff is used as an incentive to encourage the use of alternative energy. Due to the evil side effects of fossil fuels and changing climate it becomes compelling that citizens shift their focus from conventional sources of energy to non conventional sources of energy. Feed-in tariff was successfully implemented by Spain, Germany and Denmark. This kind of arrangement involves a fixed kind of payment to the residents who have installed solar panels for a long term; 20 years for Canberrans. Feed-in tariff can be instrumental in changing the mindset of the people and making the environment non-polluting.

Politicians too are quite assured of this measured success as Labor backbencher Mr. Gentleman feels that this tariff has met with success in other countries, ushered the society towards a social change and within the community people are motivated to take it up.

A spokeswoman from Chief Minister John Stanhope’s office confirms the tariff is the highest in the country, ahead of South Australia which also has legislated feed-in laws.

What the residents think of this bill? Executive director of Canberra community group Sea Change Vanessa Morris is optimistic. She already has a solar hot water system and is willing to upgrade some panels to her roof to reap the harvest of the tariff when it comes into effect next year. She says, ”The subject of solar power is immensely popular in Canberra. People are really excited by it.”

The group held a public gathering to weigh Canberra’s interest in solar energy. About 200 people attended the meeting and the group is trying to use its strength in numbers to get a supplier to sell its solar systems as cheaply as possible. It settled a deal with Armada Solar and about 53 people have signed on to buy solar panels. ”So many have a vision of Canberra as the solar capital. We have the public inclination, we have the roofs and we have such a need to increase the amount of renewable energy uptake in Australia,” Ms Morris said.

  • Paul Lerro

    In California in the Southern California Gas & Electric service area, a tariff does exist which allows ONLY for up to the amount of energy USED to be credited back to the home non-commercial solar system owner even if the amount of power produced back into the SCE lines EXCEEDS that total USED. In other words, SCE takes energy for free from home solar system owners if the home user produces more power than it uses. Given that electric rates paid by utilities is based on time of use, i.e., the electricity SCE bought and delivered during the peak periods, during the summer, in the middle of the day, is significantly more expensive than that bought and delivered at other times of the day and season, the fact that the home solar system owner

  • Paul Lerro

    In the Southern California Gas & Electric service area, a tariff exists which allows ONLY for up to the amount of energy USED to be credited back to the home non-commercial solar system owner even if the amount of power produced back into the SCE lines EXCEEDS the total power USED. The tariff condition is called “net metering” and economically discourages production of any amount of power by a home solar system owner in excess of the power consumed. In fact, the SCE tariff takes energy for free from home solar system owners if the home solar system owner produces more power than it uses. Electricity costs paid by utilities are based on the time of their delivery/use, i.e., the electricity SCE buys and delivers during the peak periods, in the summer, in the middle of the day, is significantly more expensive than that bought and delivered at other times of the day and season. The home solar system owner produces at a maximum during the middle of the day in the summer and power production is taken without compensation by the utility when the amount of power produced exceeds that used, i.e., net metering does not allow the home solar system owner to be paid for po0wer production in excess of the home owner’s power use. Home solar system owners are effectively subsidizing utilities when they produce more power than they consume. If SCE and other utilities offered tariffs similar to that apparently derived from Electricity Feed-in (Renewable Energy Premium) Bill 2008 in Canberra, the attractiveness of investing in a home solar system would be vastly improved and the amount of power produced back into lines when it is needed most, mid day in the summer, might be significant when compared to that used by the individual home solar system owner. But “net metering” is a tariff condition which discourages maximizing power production by non-commercial investors, e.g., the home solar system owner. It discourages installation of home solar power systems by reducing potential payoffs. Tariff changes are needed to promote development of home solar systems capable of producing more power into the lines than consumed in the individual home. The suggested tariff change is essentially politically driven and increased domestic solar electricity production will occur when and if utilities make home solar system owner energy production a priority rather than a necessary inconvenience. Make home solar energy production part of the renewable portfolio standard and significant power production potential may be realized. If utilities have any questions about this idea, kindly contact this writer. Thank you.


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