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Australians won’t stand for an unfair tax on the sun.

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Received today from solarcitizens.org.au and may be of interest to some readers here:


The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) is considering proposals to charge solar owners for exporting to the grid. Click here to email your State Energy Minister to stop the sun tax. 

Australians won’t stand for an unfair tax on the sun. 

That message came through loud and clear when close to 200 solar citizens joined our recent webinar to stand up against proposals to charge solar owners for exporting their clean energy. Thank you to everyone who joined the webinar!

But we haven’t won yet. Over the next few months, decision-makers are considering whether to allow fees for solar exports and we need to build a strong groundswell of opposition. Can you take action by emailing your State Energy Minister and asking them to stop a blanket sun tax?

Currently, networks aren’t allowed to charge solar owners for the power they export to the grid. But the AEMC is considering two proposals to change our energy rules and allow networks to charge export fees for the first time. 

While the final decision rests with the AEMC, State Energy Ministers have considerable sway over whether proposals make the cut. Twice before, we defeated a sun tax when tens of thousands of solar citizens came together to amplify pressure on State Energy Ministers and decision-makers to put a stop to it. 

We can win again. Queensland’s Energy Minister and Shadow Energy Minister have already indicated they oppose the sun tax, and Victoria’s Energy Minister has publicly questioned whether it’s a fair move. 

But this time the voices calling for the sun tax are louder than ever, and the voices for solar need to be even stronger. Click here to email your State Energy Minister and ask them to reject the proposals for a blanket charge for exporting solar.

At the webinar, leading energy expert and Director of Victoria Energy Policy Centre, Bruce Mountain, laid out the evidence for how rooftop solar benefits all energy users. Bruce shared his analysis of over 48,000 power bills demonstrating that rooftop solar significantly reduced wholesale power prices, far more than it increased network costs.

Everyday Australians who have invested in cheap, clean solar that benefits everyone should be encouraged, not penalised, for sharing their energy with the grid  especially when big polluting generators don’t have to pay. 

Email your State Energy Minister now to oppose these unfair rule changes. Together we can put a stop to the sun tax and protect the future of solar for all Australians. 

In sunny solidarity,

Hannah, for the Solar Citizens team


P.S. Missed the webinar? You can check out the recording and Bruce’s presentation slides here.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Yeah... nah

This reads like the usual crap the Smart Energy Council puts out.

There's actually nothing unfair about it. 

When you consume energy you pay for retail margin + wholesale margin + transmission factor + market fees + environmental levy + distribution charges. That last bit is important - the money that goes into maintaining the poles and wires is paid when you use energy. 

When you export energy and a small (e.g. including residential) system you currently do not pay many money to maintain the poles and wires, and you get paid a fee which usually exceeds the wholesale market rate of energy at the time. These rules were drafted when solar was new and very expensive, not a common thing, and were encouraged to get people to buy solar at a time they'd rather not. This was a time of premium feed-in tariffs (66c/kWh) which had some enterprising and well-heeled types plonk 10kW on their home full knowing at some point they'd turn into mega revenue. We killed that tariff ultimately because it only made rich people richer, it'd didn't actually increase access. So it's fair to review other incentives.

Nowadays solar PV is much more accessible.  

This incentive is in addition to the rebate you get for purchasing solar, which is paid out of general revenue (e.g. tax, which everyone pays). 

In short, if you can afford or can get solar, you currently get more than one free kick.

If you cannot, you're still subsidising those who have solar, both at purchase and as they use it.

On top of that small solar is an unregulated generator. If you owned a solar farm and the market rate for energy is below your price, or if there's a power quality problem on the grid that excess solar will make worse, you get turned off. That's normal. There's no such restrictions on residential PV. 

The best thing for residential PV is to self-consume it. Some proposals - to nix feed-in tariffs and put that money into subsidising self-consumption tech - comes from a genuinely good place.

If you're going to export it to infrastructure you do not own (poles and wires), you should at least pay for their use - just like consumers do. There's nothing unfair about it, and for those without PV - a lot that's quite unfair about the current situation. 

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