27/08/2008 - 22:00

State solar power plan

27/08/2008 - 22:00

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The state Labor Party has announced plans to introduce a gross feed-in tariff for household solar power systems in what's seen as a step towards boosting its green credentials ahead of next month's election.

The state Labor Party has announced plans to introduce a gross feed-in tariff for household solar power systems in what's seen as a step towards boosting its green credentials ahead of next month's election.

A gross tariff would ensure that households are paid for each unit of energy generated by their system, not just the balance of electricity not used.

Labor proposes a 60-cents-per-kilowatt-hour payback for residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems between one and 10kW until the cost of installing the panels is paid back.

Based on its estimates, a typical household would be able to earn about $1,000 a year from its roof top panel.

To be eligible, householders will have to buy green power from the grid, giving an added boost to the emerging renewable energy industry.

The solar PV industry, which has been calling for the tariff, said the introduction of a feed-in scheme would provide an incentive for householders to install solar panels on their roofs and reduce the need for government rebates.

The government will also commit $200,000 to investigating a feed-in tariff for small-scale commercial photovoltaic generators, making such projects more economically viable.

"The commitment announced by the premier also opens the door for small to medium enterprises with a promise to explore an appropriate renewable energy buyback scheme," WA Sustainable Energy Association chief executive Dr Ray Wills said.

Until the announcement, Western Australia joined New South Wales as the only two states to have failed to legislate, or consider legislating, either gross or net feed-in tariffs.

Meanwhile, the state's peak business lobby has pounced on a supposed push to introduce a container deposit scheme, saying it was nothing more than another unnecessary and costly tax on business and consumers.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA, as well as anti-CDS group Responsible Recycling, have slammed the scheme, which could potentially add about $3.50 to a carton of beer or soft drink.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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