The Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) has backed out of plans to raise its solar feed-in tariff, deciding instead to leave it at its current rate of 9.8 cents per kWh. ECOSA had planned to increase the value of the state’s FiT Premium to 11.2 cents per kWh from July 1 2013, but says the decision to maintain the status quo reflected “the reduction in the value of wholesale electricity relative to the value that was forecast in early 2012.”
ESCOSA CEO Paul Kerin said it was important to ensure the FiT reflected the current value of energy, pointing out that if it allowed the value to rise to 11.2 cents/kWh, “energy retailers would be paying an amount higher than the value of that energy.” This, said Kerin, “may have resulted in retailers not competing for solar PV customers and/or recovering those additional costs from other consumers, placing upward pressure on energy prices to all customers.”
It means that new solar customers in South Australia will get 25.8c/kWh until the end of September, when the 16c/kWh contribution from the network operators ends. The homeowners will get only the mandated tariff from the retailers. South Australia already has the highest penetration of rooftop solar in the country. Ironically, it seems the latest move on the tariff stems from the reduce cost of wholesale power, a result generally attributed to the impact of growing wind and solar energy in the state.
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