Victorian coalition secures key solar feed-in scheme improvements

The Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition has secured significant improvements to the Brumby Government’s solar feed-in scheme.

Under an agreement reached with the Coalition, the government has amended the scheme so that:

• businesses, farms, schools, community facilities and other non-residential customers can qualify for the 60c/kilowatt (kW) feed-in tariff if their annual electricity consumption is less than 100 megawatt/hour. This will make the scheme available for around 95 per cent of Victorian non-residential electricity customers; and

• customers will be able to install a solar facility of up to 5kW at their property, rather than the 3.2kW maximum as at present.

The scheme has also been amended to guarantee that the cost of the scheme to other electricity customers will not exceed an average of $10 a year per customer, and to require information about the operation of the scheme to be published annually.

The government has also incorporated into Hansard written commitments from two major Victorian retailers that they will on request pay cash to customers for any net credits that customers may earn under the feed-in scheme.

“Throughout the debate on this legislation, the Coalition parties have sought outcomes that are both constructive and responsible – constructive in removing artificial and unnecessary restrictions from the scheme, and responsible in not imposing unreasonable costs on other electricity customers,” Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources Robert Clark said today.

“We have sought these outcomes in the face of repeated government threats that they would abandon the scheme altogether if it was amended in a way they considered unacceptable,” Mr Clark said.

“We are disappointed that the government has insisted on excluding residences other than principal places of residence from the scheme and limiting the maximum solar facility size to 5kW.

“However, the changes secured by the Coalition will mean that most small to medium size businesses, farmers, schools, kindergartens and community groups and many local government premises will be able to take part in the solar feed-in scheme, which is a significant step forward in promoting the take-up of solar electricity throughout Victoria.”