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Solar backdown welcomed

Wednesday, 8th June, 2011

OVER THE MOON: South resident Darren Smith is seeing the benefits of installing a solar power system earlier this year. OVER THE MOON: South resident Darren Smith is seeing the benefits of installing a solar power system earlier this year.

by Andrew Robertson

The State Government's backdown on its plan to reduce the solar rebate for thousands of NSW subscribers has left one local resident feeling "over the moon".

Darren Smith spent more than $20,000 putting a six kilowatt solar panel system on his Piper Street house after signing up to the government's rebate scheme last year.

With his quarterly power bills typically ranging between $900 and $1300, Mr Smith saw the scheme as a way of reducing his bills without having to cut back on his consumption.

The result has so far been a $650 credit on his most recent bill of $900 - and that was with the system hooked up for just eight weeks.

Mr Smith hopes to get his bill close to neutral which would mean the system would have paid for itself by the time the scheme, which pays him 60 cents per kilowatt hour, comes to an end on January 1, 2017.

That would have been less likely had the government succeeded with its plan to use retrospective legislation to reduce the tariff rate to 40 cents per kilowatt hour.

Instead of receiving a rebate of $900 or more a quarter, Mr Smith said a reduction of 20 cents per kilowatt hour would have seen given him a rebate of about $650 a quarter.

The South resident said he would have still been in front even with the reduction to 40 cents per kilowatt hour, although he welcomed the government's backdown.

"I'm over the moon," he told the BDT.

Mr Smith is also confident that by the time the rebate scheme for existing subscribers such as himself finishes in 2017 there will already be another one in place.

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