In figures that have been seized on by solar critics, Demand Response has tipped the costs of the SRES to increase by 30% in 2019. The increase would see SRES economy-wide costs to $1.56 billion, adding $360 million to energy bills
“Considering the ever-accelerating uptake of solar power in Australia, Demand Manager believes changes to the SRES could be imminent and solar power retailers should look at hedging mechanisms to protect revenue streams,” the report’s authors write.
Demand Manager reports that the rooftop solar boom that took place in 2018 shows few signs of abating. January surpassed October 2018, according to REC Registry figures compiled by Demand Manager, with 159.4 MW installed on Australian rooftops.
Victoria overtook New South Wales in January, with 7,000 households adding solar PV – on the back of state government grants worth $2,250 per household – at a cost of $15.5 million.
“The rapid boom in Victoria looks set to be replicated in NSW as both major parties have promised voters additional subsidies for rooftop solar installations,” the report tips.
The report from Demand Manager goes on to advocate for measures to be taken to avoid costs of the SRES from blowing out. It points to “previous solar booms” in which overly generous subsidies encouraged “unscrupulous operators” to energy the market, installing poor quality and unsafe systems.
The report also warms that the costs of the SRES will become prohibitively high.
“Far from subsidies for renewable energy decreasing and [federal Energy Minister] Mr Taylor being the “Minister for getting electricity prices down”, it would appear the solar subsidy cost item on electricity bills will be increasing markedly in 2019.”
In July 2018, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission advised that the SRES be wound up by 2021 – ahead of schedule. The recommendation has not yet been taken up by the Federal Government, as the scheme remains popular with voters.