More accessible solar PPA soon in Western Australia
Author: Darvin Tocmo Date Posted:19 August 2016
Western Australians can expect more accessible solar power purchase agreements as its government makes moves to cut the PPA red tape.
The sun shines brightly in Western Australia. According to Energy Minister Mike Nahan, companies will soon be able to apply directly to the Public Utilities Office (PUO). Solar providers won’t be needing a retail license anymore to sell electricity, making it a lot easier for WA solar providers to operate.
What is solar PPA
Solar Power Purchase Agreements is a common term in Australia’s commercial solar industry. This involves long-term contract in purchasing electricity, more specifically, those generated through a customer’s solar panel system.
Under a solar PPA, the installed system is still owned by the solar provider. The set-up benefits customers in at least two ways. First, maintenance and repairs are still the company’s responsibilities. Second, no upfront payment is usually required from customers. Once the contract ends, some agreements allow customers the option to buy the system at a cheaper price.
Cutting the red tape
The government sees license exemption as a solution to solar PPA red tape that has burdened solar companies for years. This will also slash regulatory costs significantly.
If successful, this would translate to better options for customers. For the Energy Minister: “This will help the emerging market to develop and increase the choices that customers have to access these innovative and renewable sources of electricity at an affordable price.”
He added that eligible customers who export electricity back into the mains grid can avail of the state’s Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (WA’s solar feed-in tariff).
Solar energy in WA
Going solar isn’t as expensive as it used to be in Western Australia. Though Solar PPA is more suitable to larger systems, it’s safe to say that there will be positive effects on a small scale. In fact, the state now has more than 200,000 small scale solar installations.
The new policy shows the government’s commitment to renewable energy. But there’s more good news for the solar community. The Energy Minister also made an announcement regarding stand-alone solar + battery storage pilot project. This $4 million project will sit on six properties in regional areas of the state.