Friday, January 7, 2011
Do We Know The Impact Of Solar PV Feed-In Tariffs In Australia?
Do we really know what the total impact of solar pv feed-in tariffs, in Australia could be? Could we learn more from the experience of other countries?
A recent study carried out referencing the impact of solar pv feed-in-tariffs [FITs] in Germany, could shed some light.
In Germany prior to 2000, solar pv FITs did not exist and there was almost no PV solar systems in Germany. By 31 August 2010 though, German households and businesses, had installed about 700,000 of grid-connected solar pv systems, with a total capacity of 14,680 MW due to the subsidies and generous FITs in effect starting in 2000.
The main results of the subsidies and generous FITs, have seen huge investments in solar pv systems. And further huge FIT subsidies paid to the owners of solar pv systems. Systems that produce only a very small quantity of variable, intermittent and expensive power. And further only provide a miniscule reduction in the emission of CO2, as per installed MW.
This study indicates the political decision of switching to solar power in Germany, with regards to economics, air pollution and global warming. It is said to be an extremely expensive way to subsidise an industrial sector, create jobs and reduce CO2.
Because of the large gap between the FIT rates and utility electric rates, it is an easy decision for German households and businesses to switch to solar. Much to the delight of PV solar vendors, financiers and developers who call this (for them) a success. Spain is having a similar disastrous experience with its solar FITs.
Surely if we are too slow down climate change at a reasonable cost, we must use technologies that provide the greatest reduction in CO2 per dollar invested, such as energy efficiency (CF about 1.0) and nuclear (CF about 0.90). In Germany solar pv is among the highest in capital cost per installed kW, yet the lowest in power production and CO2 reduction per dollar invested.
Are those parties advocating solar pv for creating new industries and jobs, completely missing the point, those are at best, side issues!
Firstly we NEED to educate the masses on energy efficiency and reduced energy use, before choosing renewable energies where we avoid / minimise global warming. Therefore, we need to have a structure of priorities.
Now if what has been said so far sounds familiar, then you need to read this very interesting in-depth study by Willem Post, titled The Impact Of PV Solar Feed-In Tariffs In Germany.
This blog post and podcast brought to you by Aussie Home Energy, a major player in the HOME ELECTRICITY REDUCTION SERVICE industry in Australia.