Solar Feed-in Tariff Disinformation

FiT to be grid tied?

I was astonished to find “Feed-In Tariffs and Why They Stink” by Michael Kanellos in the Green Light blog at Greentech Media when I checked the site Saturday. Mr. Kanellos said:

Spain created the worst possible scenario by setting high feed-in prices and then attempting to cap the program.

Spain did set the initial Feed-in Tariffs too high creating an unsustainable market driven by large multi MegaWatt installations powered by many imported solar modules. Photovoltaics were not visible to the average Spaniard, didn’t create the requisite green jobs, and Spanish photovoltaic manufacturers could not keep pace with exponential module demand growth.

By contrast, Germany has refined and perfected the Feed-in Tariff as an incentive scheme for solar and other renewable energy technologies fostering a world leading photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing industry. In Germany, installations are 80% residential creating local installation jobs and making PV visible as a source of electricity generation. With a revised Feed-In Tariff including higher, adjustable digression rates triggered by market growth, Phoenix Solar AG (FRA:PS4) projected the German PV market will install 2 GW (GigaWatts) in 2009 at last week’s Fourth Annual Piper Jaffray CleanTech Conference, even with the current economic malaise.

For a practical example, Florida’s Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) describes how they designed their Feed-in Tariff program and rate schedule in this GRU FIT Overview presentation.

In “CALSEIA’s Priorities for 2009” at RenewableEnergyWorld.com, Sue Kateley, Executive Director of CALSEIA (California Solar Energy Industries Association), said:

Legislation. CALSEIA’s priority for 2009 is the successful enactment of a “feed-in tariff” (FIT, also called a standard offer contract) for distributed solar generation.

That was a big change since the 1st Solar Symposium: Feed-in Tariff for California First last summer when CALSEIA failed to respond to my questions about their California Feed-in Tariff proposals.

The Feed-in Tariff policy process is moving forward in California, and the California Public Utilities Commission held a Public Workshop on Renewable Feed-in Tariffs earlier this month. A solar Feed-in Tariff might be coming to Mr. Kanellos’ neighborhood in 2009.

3 comments

  1. FedIn says:

    My understanding is that their is immense fear of feed ins in the US. The reason? When feed ins are a recognized and established practice, there will be the opportunity to reverse out the true energy production output of existing sold systems. It is well known that most pv systems don’t perform as well as advertised due to many reasons such as poor/improper installation, semi shading, dirt etc. It is also a fact that these systems have been sold according to specific output.

    Once the legacy systems begin to realize in a quantifiable number that they produce less than they were sold as through net metering comparison, the legal and public relation damage to the solar industry may be huge.

  2. What can be done to consistently improve the output production of currently available pv systems?

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