MEDIA RELEASE – The truth about solar revealed

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A new information portal has been launched by the REC Agents Association (RAA), highlighting key facts about solar. RAA is a national industry body for companies that create and trade in renewable energy certificates.

Solar Facts can be found at http://www.recagents.asn.au/solar-facts/

“A number of spurious claims have been made about the solar industry, the Renewable Energy Target and the cost and contribution of solar, and it’s time to correct the record,” said Ric Brazzale, President of RAA.

“The Solar Facts information portal is a valuable source of information for policy makers, journalists, solar industry professionals and anyone passionate about solar wanting access to facts,” said Mr Brazzale. “RAA’s one-stop-shop for solar data will be regularly updated and expanded to bust solar myths and keep interested parties factually updated about solar in Australia.”

“Solar is an important part of mainstream Australian life,” said Fiona O’Hehir, Vice-President of RAA. “More than 2 million solar installations have been supported by the Renewable Energy Target. Almost 25 per cent of the

8.4 million occupied private dwellings in Australia have a solar system.”

Some Key Solar Facts

  • Australians invested more than $1.7 billion in solar PV in 2013.
  • Solar PV installed capacity amounts to nearly 6% of Australia’s generation and 2.2% of total electricity produced.
  • Solar PV produces electricity when it is needed the most and has resulted in a material reduction in peak demand for electricity.
  • More than 17,700 Australians were employed in the solar PV industry in 2013.
  • There is no net cost to customers for the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.
  • The Renewable Energy Target provides downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices and, as a result, wholesale prices are considerably lower than would otherwise be the case.
  • Network costs have driven higher power prices not the Renewable Energy Target.
  • Outer metropolitan mortgage belt and regional areas are the largest adopters of solar.

For comment and more information, contact Ric Brazzale on 0419 522 659 and Fiona O’Hehir on 0409 176 167.  

Facts about Solar and the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme

Click here to view the full fact sheet

A number of spurious claims have been made about the solar industry, the renewable energy target and the cost and contribution that solar makes.

The REC Agents Association (RAA) has developed a “Facts” section to its website that includes up-to-date information about solar and includes data and information about the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) and links to analysis expanding on the contribution that the solar industry makes.

Certificates are created under the SRES which forms part of the Renewable Energy Target which supports the progressive increase in renewable energy.

RAA is a national industry association representing companies that create and trade renewable energy certificates. RAA members work with solar companies to create Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) that support households and businesses investing in solar.

RECs generally account for 20 to 30% of the capital cost of a typical solar system and reduces the payback from 8-9 years to 6-7 years.

The average residential PV system installed in Australia is approximately 3.5 kilo Watt (kW) which typically costs $9,000 to $10,000. Certificates to the value of approximately $2,500 would be created reducing the up-front cost to the household to $6,500 to $7,500. This sized system would produce about 80 per cent of a typical household’s electricity. Some of the electricity produced will be exported to the grid (40%) when the output of the system is greater than the household’s usage – typically in the middle of the day.

Click here to view the full fact sheet

RAAs response to Judith Sloan’s article in the Australian on 25.02.2014

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The REC Agents Association (RAA) is an industry body representing the creators and traders of renewable energy certificates across Australia. The RAA wishes to respond to Judith Sloan’s article in The Australian on Tuesday 25 February 2014 titled “Junking Energy Target is Right” to correct some of the statements made in that article as noted in bullet point form below:

• The December 2013 Report on Electricity Price Trends by the Australian Electricity Market Commission clearly shows the different components to the retail costs of electricity with network costs (the cost for transmission and
distribution) being by far the largest components of domestic electricity bills 1.

• The cost of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) is nowhere near the $60 – $300 a tonne. Certificates for a megawatt hour (MWh) for the small scheme are capped at $40 and have traditionally been bought and sold on the secondary market for a substantial discount to this capped price. Certificates for a MWh of large scale renewable energy are also capped but at $65.

• The impact of renewable energy on the wholesale electricity price is that it places a downward effect on the electricity price not an increase as claimed. Solar installations generate electricity during the day when demand is highest and thus reduces the demand for electricity from the national electricity market. Further, the additional renewable generation from renewable power stations such as wind provides increased competition for fossil fuel
generators. This means that higher cost fossil fuel generators do not have to be dispatched which reduces the wholesale price for all customers.

• The RET provides partial exemptions from liability to the Energy Intensive Trade Exposed Industry (EITEIs) between 60-80% of their RET liability. EITEIs have also benefited from lower wholesale electricity prices due to the
RET.

• Key findings from the RAA analysis are that the cost of the RET that gets passed through to residential customers currently amounts to a modest 1.12 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) or 4 per cent of the average residential
electricity bill. The cost of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) that supports residential solar currently accounts for 0.54 cents per kWh or 2 per cent of a customer’s bill and is expected to more than halve over the next two years to account for less than 1 per cent. The reduction in the wholesale price due to the RET is estimated to be 0.67 cents per kWh. In the case of the SRES the reduction in the wholesale price cancels out the future cost increase that gets passed through to customers 2.

1 http://www.aemc.gov.au/Media/docs/2013-Residential-Electricity-Price-Trends-Final-Report-723596d1-fe66-43da-

2 http://www.recagents.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/RAA-Impact-of-SRES-on-Power-prices-Final.pdf

Click here to read the full media release

RAA report on impact of the Renewable Energy Target on power prices

The full report can be found here

Media release –  Small-scale renewable energy target zero cost to householders

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) will have a zero net cost impact on household power bills, according to an analysis released today by the REC Agents Association (RAA), a national industry body representing companies that trade in renewable energy certificates.

The cost of the SRES, which helps families install solar panels and solar hot water systems, is expected to halve over the next two years to less than 1% of a power bill. The reduction in wholesale electricity prices delivered by the SRES cancels out any related cost increase that gets passed through to customers.

“This analysis destroys the myth that the Renewable Energy Target is a major driver of soaring power bills”, said Ric Brazzale, President of RAA. “The Renewable Energy Target is low cost and high achieving. It must be maintained to finish its job.”

“The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme deserves a gold medal”, said Fiona O’Hehir, Vice-President of RAA. “It has helped 5 million Australians cut their power bills by installing solar and has created 15,000 jobs and will do so at zero cost to households or the Federal Budget. That is an extraordinary achievement.”

The RAA analysis uses Australian Energy Market Commission data to show the make up of power bills and the contribution of the two parts of the RET, the SRES and the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET). The analysis is a significant, early contribution to the RET Review, announced by the Government on Monday. Cost will be a major focus of the RET Review.

Key findings from the RAA analysis are:

  •  The cost of the Renewable Energy Target that gets passed through to residential customers currently amounts to a modest 1.12 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) or 4 per cent of the average residential electricity bill.
  •  The cost of the SRES currently accounts for 0.54 cents per kWh or 2 per cent of a customer’s bill and is expected to more than halve over the next two years to account for less than 1 per cent.
  •  The RET puts downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices and as a result wholesale prices are considerably lower than expected. The reduction in the wholesale price due to the RET is estimated to be 0.67 cents per kWh.
  •  In the case of the SRES the reduction in the wholesale price cancels out the future cost increase that gets passed through to customers.

“RAA’s analysis shows regulated transmission and distribution cost has been the biggest driver of rising power prices to date and is expected to be the major contributor to rising power prices in the future”, said Mr Brazzale.

Comment: contact Ric Brazzale 0419 522 659 or Fiona O’Hehir 0419 176 167

The full report can be found here

MEDIA RELEASE – 6,750 solar jobs lost or foregone if Renewable Energy Target is axed

The full report can be found here

Up to 6,750 jobs could be lost or foregone if the Renewable Energy Target is abolished, according to analysis commissioned for the REC Agents Association (RAA), an industry body for companies trading in renewable energy certificates.

“If the Renewable Energy Target is axed, 2,000 jobs could be lost straight away and thousands of new jobs would not be created”, said Fiona O’Hehir, Vice-President of RAA and CEO of Greenbank Environmental, who commissioned the analysis.

“Axing the RET is on the Government’s agenda and they need to understand this would have a diabolical impact on jobs, industry and the hundreds of thousands of Australians who want to put solar on their homes”.

“Last year, the solar industry employed some 17,000 Australians, across 4,300 small and medium sized businesses. Solar workers can be found right across the country, from the outer suburbs of our big cities to rural and regional communities,” said  Ric Brazzale, President of RAA and CEO of Green Energy Trading.

The detailed analysis by industry experts SolarBusinessServices, outlines the future of the solar PV industry, projected to 2018, under three scenarios:

(1)   No policy change: business as usual, floating carbon price, slightly higher exchange rate and lower PV prices;

(2)   Cut to the RET: RET adjusted downwards, cuts to residential solar program (SRES) and carbon price abolished.

(3)   Renewable Energy Target abolished.

“Cutting the Renewable Energy Target would also have severe consequences”, said Ms O’Hehir. “Six hundred jobs could be lost next year with a cut to the RET.”

By 2015, the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) – a key part of the RET that helps Australian families install solar – will cost just $6.50 out of an average $500 a quarter power bill, but the cost is sharply reduced by the parallel reduction in the wholesale cost of electricity delivered by solar.

The real cost of the SRES to households is just $1.90 per quarter, or just 0.38% of a typical household quarterly bill. For almost 5 million Australians, solar is substantially reducing their power bills.

The SolarBusinessServices analysis uses a number of variables to assess their potential impact on the solar market. Changes to the RET have the single largest impact on market uptake, particularly if abolished completely and early.

The full report can be found here

For media comment, contact Fiona O’Hehir on 0409 176 167, Ric Brazzale on
0419 522 659 and Nigel Morris (SolarBusinessServices) on 0410 479 286.

29 January 2014

RAA briefing note – Solar PV making a significant contribution

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Solar PV making a significant contribution

Victoria and South Australia have just gone through a week of very high temperatures and very high maximum electricity demand. There has been some debate as to what contribution if any solar PV has made. Our analysis shows that solar PV has made a significant contribution being responsible for reducing peak demand by 4.6 per cent.

According to electricity demand data published by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) the peak electricity demand occurred on Thursday 16th January during the half hour commencing 4.00 pm
in Victoria (10,240 MW) and during the half hour commencing 6.30 pm in South Australia (3,246 MW). South Australia and Victoria are interconnected so to properly assess the contribution of solar PV we
have considered electricity demand and PV contribution across both states.

The generation of electricity from solar at more than 350,000 homes and businesses in South Australia and Victoria is not visible to the electricity system and masks the level and timing of peak
demand. Solar PV is seen by the electricity market as a reduction in electricity use. As a result, AEMO’s data excludes it which has historically made it difficult to determine its contribution. The
Australian PV Institute (APVI) publishes PV generation based on the actual output of 1700 systems across Australia and then applies this to the total number of systems that are installed (refer to
http://pv-map.apvi.org.au). The output of solar PV systems tends to be highest around the middle of the day and starts to decline after 3.00 pm. Solar PV’s share of demand on Thursday 16th January is
summarised in the following chart.

Click here to view the full briefing note

MEDIA RELEASE – 2 million reasons for celebration: one big cause for concern

The REC Agents Association – a national industry body for companies creating renewable energy certificates – has welcomed the installation of the 2 millionth small scale renewable system under the Renewable Energy Target (RET) but has expressed concerns about the future of the successful scheme.

“The Renewable Energy Target has been extraordinarily successful, helping 5 million Australians put solar on their roofs,” said Ric Brazzale, President of the REC Agents Association.

“Notwithstanding the success of the RET, the solar market is in decline following cuts to government support programs and uncertainty about the Renewable Energy Target” said Mr Brazzale.  “Any move to cut the Renewable Energy Target will lead to further job losses and company closures across the country.”

A recent report by the REC Agents Association showed a 22% drop in the number of solar PV systems installed over the past 12 months, as well as a 20% decline in the solar hot water market.

More than 3,400 jobs could go over the next 12 months from a high of 18,500 employees and many more jobs will go if the Renewable Energy Target is cut following a review this year.

The decline in the solar market has led to a substantial fall in the cost of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), a key part of the Renewable Energy Target that helps Australian families install solar.

By 2015, the SRES will cost just $6.50 out of an average $500 a quarter power bill, but the cost is sharply reduced by the parallel reduction in the wholesale cost of electricity delivered by solar. The real cost of the SRES to households is just $1.90 per quarter, or just 0.4% of a typical household quarterly bill. For 5 million Australians, solar is substantially reducing their power bills.

“The Renewable Energy Target is working and needs to be maintained”, said Mr Brazzale. “It is a low cost means of cutting carbon emissions and creating clean energy jobs for the future.”

More information on the REC Agents Association can be found at www.recagents.org.au

For comment, contact Ric Brazzale on 0419 522 659.

9 January 2014

The official media release can be found here

MEDIA RELEASE – Renewable Energy Target working, but solar needs certainty

The full report can be found here

Two million Australian homes now have solar but demand is falling with the phasing out of government support programs, according to a new reportby the REC Agents Association (RAA) – a national industry body representing companies that create and trade renewable energy certificates.

The report by Green Energy Markets for RAA shows Australia installed over one gigawatt of solar PV in 2012 (the 7th largest market in the world), but has seen a 22% drop in the amount of solar PV installed over the past 12 months. More than 3,400 jobs could go over the next 12 months from a high of 18,500 employees.

The decline in the solar market has also led to a substantial fall in the cost of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), a key part of the Renewable Energy Target that helps Australian families install solar.

By 2015, the SRES will cost just $6.50 out of an average $500 a quarter power bill, but the cost is sharply reduced by the parallel reduction in the wholesale cost of electricity delivered by solar. The real cost of the SRES to households is just $1.90 per quarter, or just 0.38% of a typical household quarterly bill. For almost 5 million Australians, solar is substantially reducing their power bills.

“The Renewable Energy Target has helped almost 5 million Australians install solar, making a material contribution to meeting our energy needs”, said Ric Brazzale, CEO of Green Energy Markets and President of the REC Agents Association.

“The Government’s Million Solar Roofs program, in partnership with the Renewable Energy Target, has the potential to inject new energy into the solar market by helping low income earners and renters install solar”, said Mr Brazzale. “There is simply no need to change the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme through a Review of the Renewable Energy Target.”

“The Renewable Energy Target works”, said Fiona O’Hehir, CEO of Greenbank Environmental and Vice-President of RAA. “It creates jobs, reduces emissions and doesn’t cost the Federal Budget a cent. The Abbott Government should reaffirm its strong support for the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.”

The full report can be found here

For comment, contact Ric Brazzale on 0419 522 659, Fiona O’Hehir on 0409 176 167.

RAA Briefing Paper on GST for Environmental Certificates

Applicability of GST on environmental certificates (STCs, VEECs and ESCs) has at times been a difficult issue for the solar and energy efficiency industry. There has often been confusing and contradictory information about in the market place.

RAA has been in discussions with the ATO to assist members and other industry participants develop an understanding of the ATO’s requirements and to illustrate this by way of an example.

Together with the ATO, RAA have developed  a flow diagram that illustrates the transactions in a typical process whereby the customer / system owner is registered for GST. This is included as an attachment to this Briefing Paper and has been deemed to be compliant by the ATO.

 Read the flow diagram here: raa-briefing-paper-gst-jul-13 

Read More…

Australian Families Building Australia’s Clean Energy Future thanks to the RET

New RAA research confirms Australian families are laying the foundations for Australia’s clean energy future, with 1.5 million households (equaling four million Australian’s) installing solar hot water and solar panels - mostly in rural and regional areas and in the mortgage belts of our big cities.