Rooftop solar costs are projected to add more than $240 per year to average electricity bills within five years, according to research from the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA).
Energy Minister Mark McArdle said the projections showed the upward growth of the Solar Bonus Scheme, which will peak in 2015/16 at $240 or more than 12 per cent of an annual average electricity bill.
“I was advised that if this scheme was left uncapped it would have an accumulative cost of $1.8 billion by 2028 when it is due to expire,” he said.
“Government policy changes are expected to save more than $300 million off the $1.8 billion.”
Mr McArdle said the previous Bligh Government was unwilling to limit access to the scheme which resulted in the current situation whereby 80 per cent of households were paying for the electricity of the 20 per cent of households with rooftop solar.
“The Newman Government acted quickly to reduce the solar feed-in-tariff from 0.44 cents to 0.8 cents to minimise the cost of the Solar Bonus Scheme being passed on those members of the community who can least afford to pay for solar panels” he said.
“There are no plans to remove the $0.44 feed-in tariff for those who remain eligible.”
Mr McArdle said the QCA analysis showed the solar bonus scheme currently added $26 per year to everyone’s annual electricity bill, which will increase to $90 next year if an application by Energex to the Australian Energy Regular was successful.
“On top of the impact of the Feed in Tariff, the QCA has also said the solar bonus scheme will add more than $670 million to costs for Ergon and Energex during 2010-11 to 2012-15 as a result of capital and administrations costs associated with the solar bonus scheme,” he said.
Mr McArdle said he had been advised the Solar Feed in Tariff paid by Energex in September 2012 had rocketed to $13m from around $10m in August.
“This cost is passed through to all households in the form of higher network charges which just adds to the burden of this scheme.
“What we have here is Labor, and its Green partners, hiding its head in the sand and continuing to claim that renewable energy schemes are decreasing the cost of electricity.
“This is blatantly untrue and the modelling by the QCA should finally end this myth.”