Sunday, May 22, 2011
NSW to inspect Solar panels for safety! Solar panels losing their Shine!
The solar panel "rip-off-your neighbour" schemes are under fire on multiple fronts. The Labor "green" scheme seem to be following a well-worn track following the insulation installation debacle and the "cash-for-clunkers" fiasco, as problems with shonky solar panel installations emerge.
ORDINARY families across the state are furious government subsidies are under threat after paying up to $22,000 for solar panels in the hope they would one day have free electricity.
As Premier Barry O'Farrell's plans to cut back the solar bonus rebate are set to spark a possible split in Caucus at Tuesday's meeting, new figures show the top take-up of homes is highest in Western NSW and on the state's Far North Coast.
About one in 10 homes are powered by solar energy in Dubbo in the state's Central West, in Ballina and Brunswick on the state's North Coast, with similar numbers for Bega on the NSW South Coast.
The O'Farrell Government has announced plans to slash the rates paid to households who generate solar electricity from their systems for the electricity grid from 60c per kilowatt hour to 40c until the scheme ends in 2016 in order to save $470 million. But the Government is battling a backlash from MPs who have been inundated with complaints from households.
Meanwhile in West Australia things are no better for the solar industry where the Government is also reducing tariffs to make the scheme more affordable.
Thousands of WA householders will get less money from the power their rooftop solar panels produce after the Barnett Government slashed the amount it will pay for surplus output.
Less than 12 months after unveiling the initiative, the State Government revealed in the Budget that it was halving the feed-in tariff for households with photovoltaic cells.
The move will save the Government $18.8 million over five years and "ensure the feed-in-tariff scheme remains sustainable in the long-term", according to the Budget papers.
For people signing on to the scheme after June 30 or installing a system after September 30, the decision will wipe about $2000 - or $200 a year - off the amount the tariff pays.
Under current arrangements, households are given 40¢ for every kilowatt hour of energy they export back into the electricity grid.
The amount is on top of the 7¢ offered by State-owned retailers Synergy and Horizon.
But the rampant popularity of the scheme - combined with generous Federal Government rebates for solar panel installations - led to a 500 per cent blowout in its cost to $146 million.
Energy Minister Peter Collier conceded that the changes were an acknowledgment the scheme was becoming unaffordable, saying it was a "very, very expensive exercise".
Mr Collier said that apart from clawing back the tariff, the Government would also seek to limit the scheme's cost by imposing a 150MW generation cap.
It comes as the amount of domestic-scale solar capacity rapidly reaches 100MW, with almost 50,000 homes subscribed across the State.
It always had to come to this and anyone with half a brain should have been able to see that a policy of reducing your power costs by asking your neighbours to pay for them would be in the long run politically unsustainable .