Battlers better off under new solar feed-in policy

Minister for Energy and Water Supply
The Honourable Mark McArdle

Battlers better off under new solar feed-in policy

The Newman Government says changes to the Queensland Solar Bonus Scheme will help prevent higher electricity costs for members of the community who cannot afford solar power.

Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle said the current Queensland feed-in tariff policy meant the average electricity consumer in 2014-15 would be forced to pay about $54 per year more for power because they subsidise those solar PVs.

The current Queensland Government Solar Bonus Scheme allows people to sell power back to Queensland electricity network for $0.44 (the feed-in-tariff) and only pay about $0.21 for any power they receive from the network.

Mr McArdle said the Federal Government was also critical of State Government feed-in-tariffs because they imposed cost of living increases on consumers who could least afford to pay.

“Unfortunately Queensland Labor is in the media today opportunistically criticising the change in the feed-in-tariff,” he said.

“It seems Queensland Labor doesn’t care if battlers are harmed by its previous policies at the same time as Federal Labor’s carbon tax starts hurting everyone.”

Mr McArdle said yesterday’s announcement honoured Newman Government commitments that the feed-in-tariff for existing solar PV customers would be maintained.

“We will maintain the $0.44 feed-in tariff for those that have already signed onto it. It is one of the most generous tariffs in Australia,” he said.

“The new $0.08 feed-in-tariff, which reflects the current price paid for energy on customers’ bills, will take effect in about two weeks for new subscribers to the scheme.

“This is similar to what is paid, or being proposed, in other states.”

Mr McArdle said Labor’s scaremongering about the impact to Queensland’s growing solar industry ignored the fact that it was one of the few industries that would most likely benefit from Labor’s carbon tax.

“The purpose of such a g enerous feed-in tariff was to stimulate and support an emerging solar energy industry. Queenslanders already signed up to the current Solar Bonus Scheme are the reason why our State’s solar industry is now a viable industry,” he said.

“PV cells are now half the price they were four years ago and technology and innovation will continue to drive down the cost.

Mr McArdle said Labor’s carbon tax would drive up average electricity prices for everybody, while investing in a photovoltaic cells would help keep the future cost of electricity down.

The Government will task the Queensland Competition Authority to make recommendations by early 2013 on an unsubsidised ‘fair and reasonable’ feed-in tariff for Queensland.

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