Australia’s peak electrical industry association, the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), is concerned that the Victorian Government’s announcement to close the Transitional Feed-in Tariff (TFiT) by 30 September will place significant pressure on the electrical industry to rush through the installation of household solar systems.
NECA is concerned that the requirements set by Energy and Resources Minister Michael O’Brien could lead to the hasty installation of solar systems as installers are placed under pressure by solar retailers and customers to meet the cut-off date.
NECA Victoria Executive Director Philip Green said that while NECA is disappointed that the feed-in tariff has been slashed to eight cents, the industry does welcome the inclusion of other small-scale renewable energy technologies as part of the scheme.
“NECA is concerned that customers will be left disappointed by the short time set by the Government to not only have their solar systems installed but also inspected by the end of the month,” he said.
“The Government has given the electricity distribution companies until the end of the year to connect customers’ solar systems to the grid, but only a few weeks for electricians to install and have the system inspected.
“This creates the danger that companies selling residential solar will promise customers that their systems be installed by the 30 September cut off date creating enormous pressure on electricians who install solar systems to meet this tight deadline.
“Unfortunately some customers may miss out while others will have their system installed but will not be able to have it inspected in time. Another consequence of this tight deadline is that it could lead to hurried mediocre installation work and rushed inspections leaving customers with poor performing systems.”
For consumers to access the TFiT they will need to have the following completed by 30 September:
• a solar system installed and inspected;
• a Certificate of Electrical Safety;
• a Feed-in Tariff application submitted; and
• an Electrical Work request submitted to their electricity distribution provider.
Mr Green said that apart from the tight deadline NECA generally supported the cut in the feed-in tariff.
“It’s hard to mount a case against the Government’s decision to cut the feed-in tariff in light of the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission’s ‘Power from the People’ report,” he said.
“While NECA and its members would have liked a higher feed-in tariff amount for electricity fed back into the grid we believe the industry will continue to operate at moderate levels considering the continued increases in electricity prices.
“NECA welcomes many of the recommendations from the Commission, especially those concerned with connecting household renewable energy systems to the electricity network.”
National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA)
NECA is the peak industry body representing the interests of electrical and communications contractors Australia-wide.
P: 0402 036 282