West Australians will gain greater access to solar energy technology, with the Liberal National Government today announcing it had made it easier for solar power purchase agreement (PPA) providers to operate in the State.
Energy Minister Mike Nahan said these providers were now able to apply directly to the Public Utilities Office (PUO) for exemptions from the requirement to hold a retail licence in order to sell electricity to consumers.
Previously, the cost of obtaining a licence and complying with its requirements had proven prohibitive for solar PPA providers, acting as a barrier to entry into the emerging market.
Solar PPAs involve a solar power company installing a system on a customer's roof at no up-front cost, with the customer signing an agreement to buy all the electricity supplied from the system for a set period at an agreed price.
"West Australians are embracing solar energy in unprecedented numbers and the State Government wants to ensure everyone has access to this exciting technology," Dr Nahan said.
"By creating the exemption, we have broken down barriers, cut red tape and reduced the regulatory costs for solar PPA providers to offer electricity services to customers. 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.
"The Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme will also be available to eligible customers who export electricity back into the grid.
"Retail licence exemptions, which can now be submitted to the PUO, will also include important consumer protection conditions to ensure consumers are aware of their rights and obligations under the solar PPA before entering into a contract."
The Minister said the new exemption showed the Government's commitment to solar energy and reducing red tape for businesses.
"The Government is a huge supporter of renewable energy and this new measure will promote the uptake of even more solar PV systems by the community," he said.
Solar PPAs are a contractual arrangement between a customer and the provider
The solar PPA provider owns the solar PV system and sells electricity generated by the system at the customer's home to the customer at an agreed price
There is no upfront cost for the solar PV system to the customer under the solar PPA
Licence exemption applications can now be lodged with the PUO
Minister's office - 6552 5700