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Australia’s solar market is sending mixed signals.
Bearish analysts point out that that large-scale solar power investment will benefit significantly from either Australia’s 2020 renewable energy target (RET) or the government’s proposed carbon tax.
The domestic market for solar panel installations has recently shrunk dramatically as states and territories scale support tariffs that are now viewed as too generous, while the federal government steadily lowers subsidies for small-scale solar under the RET, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Solar Energy Industries Association chairman Ged McCarthy riposted that the Productivity Commission’s data was flawed, as it had underestimated the emissions abatement by assuming every solar power system in Australia was 1.5 kilowatts and that the commission ''then overstated the subsidy provided to solar power by guesstimating that 50 per cent of generated solar power attracts a feed-in tariff, whereas a 1.5-kilowatt system typically only receives a premium on 17 to 28 per cent of … generation''.
Australian Solar Energy Society chief executive John Grimes added that the commission's solar cost estimates were nearly double market prices, which are falling rapidly, adding, ''these costs are then compared to the wholesale electricity price, ignoring the electricity transportation losses that are avoided with distributed power.''
The positive news is that the multi-party climate change committee's clean energy future package contained $5 billion in new money for renewables, including large-scale solar, to be loaned or invested by the proposed Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com