With the looming end of the high feed-in tariffs for many owners of PV systems, there has been plenty of discussion about what constitutes fair price for exported energy. Some people will be going from receiving over 60c/kWh for all the energy their PV system produces to getting nothing at all. The 60c (and similar) schemes were introduced to kick-start the solar industry, at a time when systems were extremely expensive in comparison with today's costs. IMO there is no justification for new system owners to be paid that sort of money any more, but why shouldn't energy producers be paid a fair return. They are clearly doing the environment a favour, by eliminating some fossil fuel burning, which has benefits for all Australians in reduced health costs, costs that the public have to bear, as it is not taken into account or paid for by the owners of coal-fired power stations. They are also reducing the huge demand peaks on the national grid, lowering the cost of electricity for all in the process. These peaks only occur for a few tens of hours per year, generally in wide-spread heat waves where air conditioner usage ramps up the load on the grid. Peak wholesale electricity costs can hit $14000/MWh ($14/kWh)! and this is when the big generators make much of their annual income. Solar and wind power is clearly eating into the profits of coal and gas fired generators, so there is a lot of resistance from them- renewable energy with zero marginal cost input doesn't sit well with their business model!
While there is a suggested minimum of around 6c/kWh in NSW at least, it is not compulsory, and plenty of people currently receive no payment for their exported energy. This certainly strikes me as seriously unfair, when the electricity comapny can sell the energy to the next door neighbour for over 50c/kWh, utilising just a few metres of pre-existing cable, so there is no real cost to them, just pure profit.
So, what do you think is a reasonable payment for a unit of electricity to the homeowner with a PV system on their roof, who exports the energy they don't use themselves? Please indicate your preference in the poll.
I've allowed re-voting in case you change your mind after hte discussion progresses.
Solar Citizens* are running a campaign for a fair FiT here:http://www.solarcitizens.org.au/fairprice
*Disclosure - Energy Matters is a supporter of Solar Citizens, but please don't let that influence your choice!