From The Australia Institute:  11 November 2010 – A new report commissioned by The Australia Institute, on the federal government’s solar photo voltaic rebate program has concluded the program concludes that the program has missed its mark because it favoured the rich, produced minimal additional solar energy and because benefits flowed to imported solar panels.

The report, The Australian Government’s solar PV rebate program – An evaluation of its cost-effectiveness and fairness, was produced by Andrew Macintosh and Deb Wilkinson at the Australian National UniversityCentre for Climate Law and Policy.

It says in summary:

“The Australian Government ran a renewable energy program in the 2000s that provided rebates to householders who acquired solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems. Originally called the Photovoltaic Rebate Program (PVRP), it was rebranded the Solar Homes and Communities Program (SHCP) in November 2007.

“This paper evaluates both the PVRP and SHCP using measures of effectiveness and fairness. It finds that the program was a major driver of a more than six-fold increase in PV generation capacity in the 2000s; however, the increase was off a low base and, in 2010, solar PV’s share of the Australian electricity market was still only around 0.1 per cent. The data suggest there were equity issues associated with the program, with 66 per cent of all successful applicants residing in postal areas that were rated as medium-high and high on a socio-economic status (SES) scale.

“The program was also environmentally ineffective and costly. It will reduce emissions by 0.09 MtCO2-e/yr over the life of the rebated PV systems (0.015 per cent of Australia’s 2008 emissions) at an average social abatement cost of between $257/tCO2-e and $301/tCO2-e. Finally, the program appears to have had a relatively minor impact as an industry assistance measure, with much of the associated benefit flowing to foreign manufacturers and most of the domestic benefit being focused outside of the high value- added manufacturing areas.
See the full report here