More feed-in tariff options available for Queenslanders

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The Queensland Government has announced a number of key reforms, including more feed-in tariff options, in response to the Queensland Productivity Commission’s final report.

Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the QPC report delivered on the government’s election commitment for an inquiry into a fair price for solar.

“Overall, the QPC found that the current price Queensland solar customers are receiving for their solar power is fair,” Mr Pitt said.

Mr Pitt said the Government’s response to the QPC’s inquiry included making different feed-in tariff (FiT) options available to more Queenslanders.

“The Government will encourage the uptake of solar in regional Queensland by increasing the size of systems eligible for a FiT from five kilowatts to 30 kilowatts,” Mr Pitt said.

“This provides incentive for regional businesses and larger households who currently would not receive a FiT to install a larger system, because they will be paid for their excess energy.

“Additionally, those who already have larger systems installed will also receive the FiT. This change will require amendments to regulation which are expected to occur in the first half of 2017.”

Mr Pitt said the Palaszczuk Government’s energy policies were aimed at driving price stability to electricity consumers following the 43 per cent increase in power bills under the Nicholls-Newman government.

He said under Labor, our first two years of government had seen average annual electricity price increase for households of just 1.2 per cent.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey said another key reform to be initiated by the government was the introduction of an optional time varying feed-in tariff (T-FiT) in regional Queensland.

“The optional T-FiT, which will complement the existing flat rate FiT, offers solar customers more market reflective prices with lower rates in off-peak times and a higher rate during a daily peak period,” Mr Bailey said.

“The T-FiT can provide additional value to households who are able to take advantage of a peak price being introduced.

“The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) will determine the new T-FiT rates in mid-2017 after a public consultation process.

“The Government supports the QPC’s recommendation that the existing competitive arrangements for FiTs will be maintained in South-East Queensland.

“We will have the QCAmonitor FiT offers in the south east to ensure the market continues to provide a fair price.”

According to the latest data, Queensland has more than 1600MW of installed solar generation capacity, which means about 426,000 Queensland home are generating solar power.

“November’s peak of almost 16MW of solar generation capacity installed represents a 33 percent increase on the year-to-date monthly average,” Mr Bailey said.

“The four-month period from August to November included four of the five best months during 2016 for the number rooftop solar installations in Queensland.”

Mr Bailey said Queensland was now more than half-way towards the Palaszczuk Government’s 2020 solar target of 3000MW of installed solar generation capacity.