25 August 2010 – The NSW Government’s Solar Bonus Scheme will undergo a performance review after it reached its first milestone capacity of 50 megawatts.

NSW Minister for Energy Paul Lynch said that the important terms of the Scheme, such as its length and the tariff rate, were locked into legislation.

“If any changes are to be proposed, the legislation would need to be amended and we are on the record stating that any changes would not be applied retrospectively,” Mr Lynch said.

“That means no customers who have already entered the Scheme will be affected by the review,” he said.

Public submissions for the review will be received before 30 September, with the review to be tabled in Parliament towards the end of its next session. A further review of the Scheme will be undertaken by the Auditor-General early next year.

The Total Environment Centre has praised the success of the Scheme with over 30,000 households taking part in the program so far.

Executive director of TEC Jeff Angel said that the scheme has allowed households to pay off their solar investments by selling energy back into the power grid.

“The tariff which is both generous and effective has so far paid 30,000 householders 60 cents per kilowatt hour to sell their energy back to the grid, which is four times what it costs to buy energy,” said Mr. Jeff Angel, executive director of TEC.

“This has meant that householders are able to pay off their investments in record time. It’s a win-win for all.”

Mr. Angel said the next step is to allow bigger industries, including commercial renewable energy projects, to access the feed-in tariff, and also raise the cap.

“The popularity of the scheme shows that Australians are hungry for clean energy,” said Mr. Angel.

“This demonstrates that both federal and state governments have been given a mandate to increase our renewable energy targets. It also protects us all from carbon price impacts as it helps change the carbon mix of generation.”

Submissions can be emailed to solarbonus.review@industry.nsw.gov.au or posted to Solar Bonus Review, Industry and Investment NSW, Level 17, 227 Elizabeth Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000 by close of business 30 September, 2010.