As the panic around energy continues across the eastern seaboard, the Queensland government has dispelled claims from the Murdoch media and opposition Liberal National Party (LNP) that it would be introducing a ‘sun tax’ – that is, allowing household to be charged for exporting excess solar energy.
Queenslanders today awoke to headlines from Newscorp’s Courier Mail that a “‘Sun tax’ hit looms for solar customers.”
Within hours, the state’s minister for energy and renewables, Mick de Brenni, issued a blunt statement saying: “there is no change to solar feed-in tariffs in Queensland.”
“It’s a bit rich from the LNP to be talking about solar when they cut solar feed-in tariffs.
“They didn’t get renewables then, and they still don’t get it now.
“The Opposition Leader should apologise for scaremongering at a time when Queenslanders should be encouraged to install rooftop solar.”
Fears about a ‘sun tax’ have been floating around for years, but reached a new level last year when the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) officially changed our energy market rules to allow networks to charge solar owners for feeding energy into the grid at certain times of the day, known as two-way pricing. Proponents of the rule change say the charges will help pay for infrastructure upgrades necessary for transitioning to decentralised renewable energy systems.
Both Queensland and the Victorian governments quickly ruled out introducing such measures.
Community group and staunch opponents to the rule change, Solar Citizens, confirmed this morning that “there has been no proposal put forward by Queensland state-owned network providers to charge households.”
“Sky-high coal and gas prices alongside rolling breakdowns at fossil fuel power stations are causing Australia’s energy crisis. The only price relief right now is coming from rooftop solar,” Solar Citizen’s Deputy Director, Stephanie Gray, said.
New South Wales increases solar feed-in tariffs
In the meantime, New South Wales – which lags states like Queensland, Western and South Australia in the take up of rooftop solar, has had its Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) recommend higher feed-in tariffs for solar households.
Each year, the tribunal recommends solar feed-in tariff rates for electricity retailers. For FY22-23, it is recommending solar customers receive 6.2 to 10.4 c/kWh from their electricity retailer for exporting solar into the grid under an “all day” feed-in tariff rate.
The new rate recommendation is up from the 4.6 to 5.5 c/kWh guidance for FY21-22.
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