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Solar subsidy death spiral: $2 billion in Australia, rising 50% pa as electricity prices rocket

Solar Panels cost more than people realize.

A few Australians are just beginning to realize that they are paying for their neighbour’s solar panel. As news spreads, the shine of good-citizen-solar is going to tarnish fast, but it is going to take a concerted campaign to spread the word.

In one corner are 2 million households which have solar PV and thought they paid for it themselves. In the other corner are 7.5 million households which have exorbitant electricity bills. And in every corner and all across the spectrum is mass confusion thanks to the mass media. The fog of advertisements disguised as “news” means if you ask a dumb-enough-question 70% of Australians will say they want the government to set a high RET target to make electricity cheaper. It’s almost like 2 out of 3 people think we need the government to force us to buy cheap stuff, because everyone would buy the “expensive” planet killing volts if we only had the choice. Doh.

That’s $200 per household (and the rest!) added to the electricity bill in 2019

This is just the direct SRES (Small Renewable Energy Scheme) cost. It doesn’t cover the burden of stabilizing the grid, of covering the cost of baseload power sitting around waiting for when solar users need it. Unreliable power makes the whole system less efficient, costs go up and all the cheap electricity generators have to charge higher prices too (at least, the ones it doesn’t drive out of business). Then there are the price spikes — so wild they make these subsidies look cheap.

Households’ $2bn hit for solar roof panel subsidies

Perry Williams, The Australian

Households will pay nearly $2 billion for rooftop solar installation subsidies this year, costing every home nearly $200 and threatening to derail Scott Morrison’s pledge to cut power bills.

The cost of the federal Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) and state-based rebates combined is forecast to rise by 45 per cent from $1.2bn last year to $1.74bn this year.

However, analysis of the cost of small-scale technology certificates, which are handed to consumers installing solar panels and then bought back by electricity ­retailers, shows a soaring cost for all power users.

How’s this for confusion?

Energy companies say the subsidy is 15% of the bill, but the Minister says it is just 3%. We don’t even know what the cost is. Therein lies a free-market disaster. How is anyone supposed to make sensible decisions?

Origin Energy ­revealed last year that the government’s SRES and state-based solar feed-in tariffs accounted for up to 15 per cent of bill charges.

Mr Taylor, the Energy Minister, said the cost of small-scale technology certificates — created to increase the incentive to install rooftop solar — was just 3 per cent of an average household bill.

Big energy blames big government and big government blames the big energy companies and in a way they’re both right. The big energy companies are playing the market for profits, but big government is screwing the people for power — selling “green electrons” at the election to win seats.

The Liberals are tossing away their best proven election winning advantage. They won’t win votes by aiming for the empty dead centre. The killer comments and lines are left on the cutting room floor.

They can’t show what fools the Labor Green candidates are while they try to be better managed fools themselves.

Just call it quits on the Solar PV subsidy — save householders $200 this year, and even more the year after that.

But read the comments at The Australian. Even at the most informed masthead in the nation many people have no clue.


I pay 28c per kWh for electricity I use from the grid. I get 11c per kWh for electricity my solar panels feed into the grid. Tell me again how I am costing other users money?

 The only clever thing about renewable energy is the way the true cost is hidden.

h/t Pat and Dave B.


Demand Manager (2019) Australian Rooftop Solar Subsidy, (PDF) 2019 Outlook, February 2019.

Solar Panels Photo: Ulleo

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