Feeds

Australia cuts solar subsidies, and not before time

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

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Is the market close to sustainability?

Ignoring ideology, the pragmatic question is whether or not the subsidies have created a market that can survive without them. I can’t say “yes” for certain, but the market looks more sustainable than it did five years ago.

Some industries – in Australia, childcare is a notorious example – use subsidies to lift their prices. Since the government’s going to pay half the fee, the market can slap on a premium, and the end user still gets to book a small saving.

The price falls in the solar industry in Australia, I argue, indicate that the market is sufficiently competitive to respond to changes in its circumstances, and might no longer need a direct installation subsidy.

To return a lower-subsidy industry to where it was in 2008, solar power needs to trim its installed prices by around 20 percent. In three years, it’s achieved double that – 40 percent, more or less.

Setting aside labour costs, the rising Australian dollar alone could do the trick, since there appears to be enough competition (and desperation) to stop the market simply gouging the consumers.

For some reason – perhaps it’s the level at which you can expect payoff while you’re still alive – A$6,000 seems to be a psychological price point for entry-level solar panel installations. Even with the reduced subsidy, the industry isn’t that far off the mark, and could well reach it by market dynamics alone.

The outcome would be a country in which solar setups become worthwhile in their own right, without all the downsides of the government subsidy. Is that a bad thing? ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
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.