The Great Solar Bonus Scheme Swindle

11/5/08

Dear Member of Parliament

RE: Solar Bonus Scheme

The proposed Solar Bonus Scheme as outlined in the Premier’s speech in Hansard (11 March 2008 ) gave the community and the sustainable energy industry great hope that the government was genuine about supporting renewable energy.

The Department of Mines and Energy (DME) Solar Bonus Scheme brochure states that the goals are:

  • To make solar power more affordable for Queenslanders
  • To stimulate the solar power industry

These goals will not be achieved with the proposed scheme.

The proposed import–export FiT will deliver no financial benefits to the vast majority of home owners because it is only paid on electricity that goes to the grid (generation minus consumption). Computer modelling shows that the average household power consumption (10MWh/year, Solar Bonus Scheme brochure, DME) is more than the PV power output throughout the day for the most commonly sold system. Hence the average household will receive no payment under the import–export FiT scheme, as shown in the graph below.

PV Graph

Some would argue that this is an encouragement for households to become more energy efficient and reduce the gap between PV generation and demand. It can be seen from the graph above that to achieve this, the average household would have to reduce their demand by at least 50%. While this is achievable and essential, energy efficiency measures would require an additional financial investment from the same household that has already invested approximately $5000 for the PV system. Computer modelling shows that the payback time for the PV system will be more than 20 years.

In addition to this, there are other limitations of the proposed Solar Bonus Scheme with import–export FiT which are fully described in a deputation made to the government on 27 April 2008. This document is attached.

Recently the Victorian government implemented a similarly flawed scheme which has attracted considerable criticism from the community and the media for the same reasons as described above.

I urge you to encourage the government to implement a Sunshine State Gross FiT which, unlike the proposed scheme, will achieve the stated DME goals by:

  • making payment on the gross output of PV systems of at least 44c/kWh and
  • implementing a gross metering scheme for measurement of PV generation and household demand.

I request that you study the above and the attached supporting document and conclude that the only effective scheme for Queensland is a Sunshine State Gross FiT.

Yours faithfully

Trevor Berrill,
Sustainable Energy Systems Consultant and Educator,
29 Burnett St.,Wellington Point,Q 4160
Ph 07 3207 5077

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