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Tasmanians Deserve a Fair Price for Rooftop Solar

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Monday, 5 February 2018

Tags: Rooftop Solar, Aurora

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens’ Energy spokesperson

A fair feed-in tariff for rooftop solar electricity is a must to reduce people’s power bills and stimulate clean jobs and renewable investment.  It would also secure our energy supply and help transition Tasmania to a 100% clean economy.

The Office of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator (OTTER) sets the price of rooftop solar, and the Greens would legislate for the Regulator to include all aspects of rooftop solar when setting the wholesale electricity price.

Currently, the Regulator doesn’t account for avoided generation, transmission and distribution costs, health benefits, or reduced greenhouse emissions.  Our legislation would ensure those benefits were taken into account when setting the price for solar being fed back into the grid.

The Greens’ fair feed-in tariff makes economic, social and environmental sense, and will reduce power bills for households and small businesses.*

A similar change made in Victoria last year resulted in their solar feed-in tariff more than doubling, and based on this we estimate the Tasmanian price would be between 10-18c/kWh.

Right now, Aurora Energy pays rooftop solar owners 8.9c/kWh for the electricity they generate, but sells it to neighbouring households for nearly three times as much. Under the Liberals, it is projected to drop as low as 5c/kWh in the next couple of years.

Households with rooftop solar are contributing power to the electricity grid and they should paid fairly. At the moment, it’s government-sanctioned daylight robbery.

The low price paid for rooftop solar power isn’t just ripping off households and small businesses, it’s stifling jobs and investment in what should be a growing industry. Under the Liberals, the number of Tasmanians employed in solar installation fell by over 200%.

Only 13% of suitable Tasmanian homes have rooftop solar. The unfair feed-in tariff price is holding Tasmania back from immediate actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and power bills.

After twiddling their fingers for four years, the Liberals have announced plans to conduct a review of the feed-in tariff. This is something that’s already happening under existing legislation on a yearly basis.

Their so-called plan doesn’t even include a promise to increase the price solar owners are paid for their excess electricity contribution.

In contrast, the Greens’ policy to introduce a fair price for rooftop solar is backed by legislative changes that will ensure solar owners receive between 10-18c/kWh for their electricity, and is backed by $30 million in funding. Without legislative intervention, the feed-in tariff could fall as low as 5c/kWh in the near future.

The Liberals have resisted acting on this issue while in government, and have contributed to our State’s continued reliance on insecure, expensive and polluting coal-fired electricity from Victoria. The Greens will help Tasmania transition to a clean economy, and a fair price for small-scale solar electricity is central to this.