The second review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) performed by the Climate Change Authority was released late last month. The report looks at Australia’s’ progress towards emissions and energy goals for 2020 and through 2030, including the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SERS) which helps to subsidize the installation of rooftop photovoltaic panels for individual and small-scale community use. In March, the Warburton review recommended that the SRES be abolished or revised to begin an early phase-out of the SRES and the creation of Small-scale technology certificates (STCs) as a cost saving measure. The review by the Climate Change Authority concurs with the Warburton review in that the SRES is an expensive way to create emission reductions, but recommends that, with the scheduled phase-out set to begin in 2017, no change to the program is necessary. With no recommended change, Best Solar Panels Perth reminds solar customers that they still have until 2017 to sign a contract for home installation of a solar power system to take full advantage of the benefits of the SRES. —
The RET is designed to help Australia meet its carbon emission goals, goals that call for Australia to reduce emission by 20% by 2020. This is accomplished through the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET), which focuses on large scale solar and wind generated power; and the SRES. The SRES functions by helping make individual investments such as pv panels and solar water heaters affordable for residential, small business and community purposes. The SRES makes these technologies more affordable through the process of deemings. Deemings are estimations of how much additional electricity a system will create beyond its user’s needs that will be passed into the larger power grid. These deemings result in the generation of STCs, which in practice are often assigned to installers such as Best Solar Panels Perth to reduce the cost of initial installation.
Under the current plan, users who contract for a solar pv system that qualifies under the SRES before 2017 will be eligible for up to 15 years’ worth of deemings and STCs. After 2017, each year would reduce by one the number of years’ worth of deemings the owner was eligible for, phasing out STCs completely in 2030. The Warburton review in March recommended either immediate abolishment of the SRES or an increase in the phase-out that would mean that new systems would not be eligible for STCs starting in 2020. While the final recommendation of the Climate Change Authority includes no change to the current SRES phase-out schedule, it did offer two alternative phase out plans whereby each year the number of years’ worth of deemings a new installation qualified for would be reduced by 1.5 or 3 years, respectively, speeding up the time-line of the scheduled phase out.
Both the recent findings of the Climate Change Authority, and the Warburton review did agree that the SRES is less cost effective at helping Australia meet its carbon emissions goals than it was in 2011. The review cites the changes to the technology that have reduced the overall cost of installing rooftop pv systems in recent years as a significant factor. Prior to those reductions, the installation cost of a rooftop system without the subsidies supplied by the SRES and STCs made installation cost prohibitive. In 2014 however, the Climate Change Authority found that the many of the installations funded in part by the SRES would likely have occurred anyway. The Climate Change Authority’s recommendation of not change was not due to the effectiveness of the program, but rather that the number of installations is already falling and with the scheduled phase-out due to start within a few years, the overall costs of the current program are “relatively modest. ” While it remains to be seen what the Australian government will do with the recommendations, for the timing being, customers who sign contracts before 2017 with solar installers to take advantage of the SRES program can still take advantage of the full 15 years of deemings.
Name: Casey Evans
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Organization: Best Solar Panels Perth
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