The Queensland Labor government has removed a 5kW cap on solar systems able to access feed-in tariffs in regional areas, announcing that systems up to 30kW will now be able to access the 11c/kWh tariff.
The government expects that more than 4,000 regional households and small businesses will now be in line to receive the Queensland regional feed-in tariff, a number that does not include those who are expected to install larger solar systems to take advantage of the removal of the cap.
“Expanding the eligibility for the regional FiT to small photovoltaic generators with a total rated inverter capacity up to 30 kW will enable more regional Queenslanders to receive fair payment for excess energy exported from their solar PV system to the electricity grid,” Treasurer and Acting Minster for Energy Curtis Pitt said.
“Importantly, because the regional FiT is set by the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) at an economically efficient, cost-neutral rate based on market energy costs, there is no additional expense to non-solar customers.”
Pitt said the new arrangements meant many businesses which had been considering solar would now be able to take advantage of the regional FiT to get a payment for excess power they exported to the grid when their businesses were closed.
Shani Tager, a campaigner for Solar Citizens, described the move as a “game changer: for small businesses and households in regional Queensland who are struggling with the costs of electricity.
“Installing rooftop solar is the only guaranteed way for everyday Queenslanders to take control of rising power bills. This is exactly the sort of policy that’s needed to increase the uptake of rooftop solar and meet the Government’s commitment of 1 million solar roofs (3 gigawatts) by 2020.
“Solar puts downward pressure on power bills because it helps take the stress off the network at peak times, such as when everyone switches on their air conditioners on hot days.
“This announcement will mean more solar on rooftops all over regional Queensland, helping all electricity consumers in the Sunshine State with their power prices.”
Meanwhile, Pitt said there are now 20 renewable energy projects in Queensland either commencing construction or finalising commercial arrangements, collectively with almost 1800 megawatts capacity, supporting more than 2,800 direct construction jobs in regional Queensland and providing a $3.4 billion investment boost.
On Thursday, premier Anastasia Palaszczuk said there was a total pipeline of renewable energy projects of 6,552 megawatts of projects.
“We are proud to say that …. we have been able to establish a new industry in Queensland – for large-scale renewables,” she told a conference in Townsville.