Hi all, don't know if any of this is any use to anyone or if I am (typically) sticking in my 2 cents worth where its not required!
I was at the home show thing in Perth last weekend, and made a point of talking to all the solar power people there. I have not had time to sit down and research and figure it all out for myself yet, but this is what I was told from two of the solar power stalls there:
One of them said they are not even trying to sell any new systems until after July, as the changes that are happening make it better to install then. I might not get these details perfect and have not looked anyting up yet - but in a nutshell he said that 1) While the $8000 rebate is gone, there's going to be a $7500 one and the means test on the rebate is being removed 2) the tariffs/credits you get paid for your power for feeding back into the grid are increasing substantially (which agrees with the 60c/unit rate that Kathleen mentioned) 3) there will be low or no-interest loans on offer (govt, and bendigo bank) to help people take advantage of it. And that 4) with the new tariffs and the loans, a mid sized system would pay itself off in about 5 years.
Another stall told me that if you have solar and are grid connected, if there is a power outage you will be out also, because you are in reality feeding all the solar from your house into the grid and drawing it and more or less back from the grid, none of the solar goes directly to power your place. And that there is a device in use in other parts of the world, that is basically a switch, so you can flick it over and run on your own solar, when there is an outage. That device is currently halfway through the approvals process to be used here in Aust. It is basically necessary because of the way the grid connect system works - if there is an outage they can't have any power feeding back down the lines if people are working on them. They were hopeful that this device would be available here towards the end of this year.
And then you see the stories on the TV about how they are taking the solar generated and on selling it at (substantial) profit as green power and also trading it as carbon credits to big business. So
who really knows what is going on.
All very confusing, and I gues the info you get can be largely dependant on whether the person you are talking to is trying to sell you something or not
Its such an important thing to change the way we generate power, and with the fantastic big yellow power resource in the sky we have here, it needs to be a simple, accessible thing to do.