Apparently the Clean Energy Council (CEC) and the Victorian Government Department of Primary Industries (DPI) met this week to discuss the existing Victorian Premium Solar Feed-in Tariff regime. It has been reported that the DPI mentioned that the current feed-in tariff regime would be phased out in the near future for new customers wishing to connect to the electricity grid.
The current premium feed-in tariff offers Victorian residents with small-scale (up to 5 kW in size) solar photo-voltaic (PV) systems a minimum credit of at least 60 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for any excess electricity they feed back into the grid. All electricity retailers with more than 5,000 Victorian customers must offer the premium feed-in tariff for solar. When the premium feed-in tariff regime was established it was limited to a total capacity of 100 megawatts of solar power across the state and once this limit is reached, new customers connecting solar to the grid may no longer be eligible to be paid the premium rate for feeding in to the grid. However, those Victorians who are already receiving the premium feed-in tariff will be entitled to continue to receive the premium rate until 2024 even if the scheme is closed to new customers.
Apparently the 100 megawatt limit is expected to be reached soon (if not already) and the DPI is expected to announce a replacement interim scheme for new customers connecting to the grid. Whilst any new scheme is likely to be similar it is expected that the premium rate will be cut significantly as has occurred in other states. For example, the NSW Government slashed its feed-in tariff from 60 cents to 20 cents per kWh effective from 29 April 2011.
If you wish to learn more about solar feed-in tariffs in Victoria please refer to the FAQs on the Department of Primary Industries’ website.