Solar-powered households face higher fees to use grid
Source: The Australian, 23 October 2013
AUSTRALIA'S one million households with rootfop solar photovoltaic panels face the prospect of higher charges to use the poles and wires that distribute electricity under plans to deal with concerns they are being subsidised by consumers who have not installed the solar systems.
A report to be released today by the Australian Energy Market Commission, and obtained by The Australian, says the solar PV panels and household-level renewables such as micro wind turbines have costs associated with them that are often not reflected in the electricity prices paid by households that have installed the systems and are being subsidised by other consumers.
These include the costs to energy networks of being a "standby" source of power when solar PV panels are not running at night or not generating enough power to meet the needs of the household.
"Stakeholders are concerned that network costs of consumers with solar PV are cross-subsidised by other consumers, due to current inefficiencies in network tariffs," the report says. "Where tariffs are based on the volumes of energy drawn from the grid, such consumers benefit from having the network infrastructure available without paying as much for that network as those without solar PV."