Thursday's government announcement of a further reduction in levels of support for residential solar power has been met by general acceptance from the solar industry. Unfortunately, industry implosion cannot be ruled out as the lower STC multiplier and depressed STC price combine with the end of feed-in tariffs in three states this year.
The electricity pricing regulator in NSW has recently revealed that utilities are making windfall profits from the Solar Bonus Scheme. As the NSW government retrospectively robs one third of solar system owners’ promised entitlements, it is clear that electricity retailers are charging back to the customer at rates up to 40c/kWh of electricity that was freely generated from the sun.
Picture if you will, an antipodean solar engineer’s dream world. Every roof faces north with a pitch roughly equal to the local latitude angle; building-block homes all in a row. Unfortunately, centuries of homebuilders and decades of town planners did not consult a solar engineer before scattering homes without regard to optimal solar access. The resulting urban environment is more aesthetically pleasing and arguably more liveable, but constantly faces solar designers with suboptimal outcomes.
In an article that featured in the August edition of Solar Australia, industry expert Warwick Johnston – Managing Director of SunWiz Consulting – made some solar pricing predictions.
In the past two years, Australia has witnessed a remarkable solar power price transformation. Driven by a combination of factors including international pricing trends, the favourable exchange rate and the increased deployment of government programs (whose significance should not be understated), solar system prices have halved in two years.