Feeds

Australia cuts solar subsidies, and not before time

It's becoming competitive, and doesn't need support

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Grid-connect system cost

The change in system costs – panels with grid connection as a bundle – over the last three years is quite startling. Thanks to the Wayback machine, I can check off solar system costs in 2008 and now.

Whole-of-system costs – excluding the subsidy – have fallen faster than panel costs. To pick just one installer, Aussie Solar (mainly because they build the system I bought with a house, so I’ve dealt with them, and therefore know they’re at least more substantial than some dude on eBay with a Website, a lockup and a van):

2008 price for a 1.5 kW system, pre-rebate: A$15,400

2011 price for a 1.5 kW system, pre-rebate: A$9,195 (the sum of the subsidy and the user capex)

The change, more than A$6,000, is more than the difference in panel price alone (yes, I realise these systems use different panels to those I priced above, but the gap between 130W panels and 175W panels isn't enough to invalidate this point).

If I apply the rebates in 2008 and now, the customer’s capex for a solar installation has risen from A$6,160 in 2008 to A$7,995 now (at the new A$1,200 level of rebate).

The price deflation (which I didn’t actually expect when I started looking at these figures) suggests, quite amazingly, that at least one of the tree-huggers’ assertions was right: with the right support, the solar industry would reach sufficient size to start enjoying economies of scale.

The growth in the market made it worthwhile for international manufacturers to compete on price, while at the same time expanding the number of distribution channels (leading to local price competition as well).

The existence of the parallel market in off-grid systems seems to support a hypothesis that competitive pressure is bringing down prices. In the less-contested off-grid market, there’s less evidence of price pressure. The 2008 price list I have shows a Latronics inverter at exactly the same price as it’s listed for today.

So it would appear that the government’s support had at least one of the outcomes that subsidy advocates believe it ought. But once a market becomes self-sustaining in its own right, it’s time to wind back the subsidy.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.