As we have discussed previously, the current review of the Renewable Energy Target is being closely watch by the solar industry and significant ‘lobbying’ is already being seen by groups like the Solar Council who are actively targeting ‘marginal’ seats to pressure politicians into keeping the current Renewable Energy Target. Should the Renewable Energy Target. go then it is inevitable that the price of solar power systems in Adelaide will increase – the amount of increase dependent on the size of the system, but for a 5 Kilowatt system, increases of over $3000 could be expected or roughly a 60 cent per watt increase in installed solar system pricing.
Whilst the solar industry is concerned about the possibility of the culling of the R.E.T. it is worth noting that the Adelaide solar panels market has experienced many ‘ups and downs’ over the last 10 years. The gradual reduction in solar credits (which gave a ‘multiplier’ to the effective ‘subsidies’ for solar installation) saw a ‘boom’ in solar installations in Adelaide prior to the ‘cut off date’ and the same rush to have solar installed also occurred prior to the reduction in the South Australian solar feed in tariffs. What is interesting to observe is that the solar industry has rebounded after most of these events and it is reasonable to say that the ‘long term players’ in the Adelaide solar market still have viable businesses, whilst many of the more ‘opportunistic’, ‘lets make a quick buck from solar’ companies have fallen by the wayside. So it has been a maturing market for solar panels in South Australia. The ‘counterbalancing’ aspect to cuts in ‘incentives’ to install solar panels has been the exponential decrease in the costs of solar panels over the last decade – to the tune of around 70 percent. This has meant that whilst government incentives has dropped away for solar installation, the costs of solar systems have also decreased substantially, so the ‘financials’ of solar installation in Adelaide still remain viable (depending on your pattern of electricity usage, the size, cost and quality of the solar system you install etc), with so-called ‘payback periods’ of 4 to 5 years being quite possible.