Solar installers report a slump since tariff change

BENDIGO solar installers have reported a decline in inquires and sales since the feed-in tariff changed from up to 32 cents per kilowatt to a universal rate of eight cents on October 1.

The state Department of Primary Industries announced in September the tariff would change to a flat rate of eight cents for excess electricity exported to the grid.

Previously there had been different rates for different solar and renewable energy systems. The new tariff will be revised annually by the regulator until 2016.

Russell Broad Electrical office manager Caroline Kelly said people were previously using their excess credits to pay for their gas and electricity bills.

She said it was still possible for people to cover their electricity bills on the new rate.

“What we’re trying to make people realise is that it’s not about making money, it’s about negating the cost of power,” she said.

“You can still make some big savings.”

Ms Kelly said there had been a noticeable decrease in interest and sales since the change.

“I think it has deterred a few people,” she said.

A report by independent Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission showed over-generous feed-in tariffs resulted in Victorians paying more on their bills to subsidise households with rooftop solar. Victorian Energy and Resources Minister Michael O’Brien said the new system would be fairer to all.

“The Coalition government supports the growth of low emissions energy sources, but that support must be fair to all, including vulnerable Victorians who pay the subsidies through higher electricity bills,” he said.

“Over-generous subsidies can no longer be justified.”

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