Feed-in tariff inquiryThe Victorian Government has announced an inquiry into feed-in tariff arrangements in Victoria. This inquiry will investigate whether current regulations for compensating Victorian households and businesses for generating solar power are adequate. It will also consider the environmental and social value of distributed generation.
Feed in tariff rate for 2016 The Essential Services Commission (ESC) has released a final decision to adopt a minimum feed-in tariff rate of 5 cents per kilowatt hour (c/kWh) to apply from 1 January 2016. This minimum rate will apply to all customers that have been receiving the current Feed-in Tariff, currently set at 5.0 cents for 2016, and was introduced on 1 January 2013.
This change does not affect customers on the Premium, Transitional or Standard Feed-in Tariff schemes.
More information, including the ESC's final document, can be found on the ESC website. All queries in relation to this draft decision should be directed to the ESC for its consideration.
Current Feed-in Tariff (FIT) The current Victorian Feed-in Tariff commenced on 1 January 2013.
This Feed-in Tariff currently offers a minimum of 5.0 cents per kilowatt hour for 2016 for excess electricity fed back into the grid. All electricity retailers with more than 5,000 customers must offer at least this minimum rate, but they may offer different packages and terms and conditions.
The Feed-in Tariff is available to solar and other eligible forms of renewable energy, such as wind, hydro or biomass, with a system size less than 100 kilowatts.
Battery providing 'zero dollar' power bills - Michael McGarvie and his wife Maria installed a 16-bank, 14.4 kilowatt hour (kWh) carbon-gel battery system at their home at Eaglemont, in Melbourne's east, in April.
After an energy-intensive winter, he said his house has been completely self-sufficient so far this October, meaning he owed nothing to his electricity provider after fixed costs.
He expected his house would be powered completely by his solar and battery systems for nine months of the year.
The McGarvies paid $30,000 for the system, which includes a power inverter and 24 solar panels, a cost he acknowledged was beyond the budget of many households.
"When the battery prices plummet, which they're due to do, I think it will be an economic decision to swap to PV and batteries," he said.
"Within 10 years, which is the predicted life [of the batteries], the technology will be so brilliant that the replacement system will be much less than 50 per cent of the price, and probably much smaller."
The report also predicted the switch to solar would accelerate as the cost of batteries continued to fall.
Amanda McKenzie from the Climate Council said while that would be a key factor driving the take-up of battery units, people also wanted to "do the right thing".
"People who are using solar on their roofs are people who are trying to beat their electricity bills; it's people with mortgages, pensioners. That same group of people will be a key market for battery storage," Ms McKenzie said.
"We know that we live in a very sunny country, one of the windiest countries in the world, and that climate change is a huge issue.
"So people are motivated both by the price, and by helping the environment, so it's a win-win."
By Robert BairdUpdated 22 Oct 2015, 12:13am