Residential or 'rooftop' solar PV can play an important role in providing renewable energy, thus offsetting fossil fuel based generation and associated greenhouse gas emissions. In Australia, subsidies are offered to encourage the deployment of residential PV in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs). This paper provides a literature review of existing work which assesses renewable energy in Australia, and delves deeper into a residential PV specific analysis of available data across the five criteria of installation, employment, market maturity, FiT settings and environmental outcomes to assess successes, failures and impacts of Australian residential PV policies between 2001 and 2012. This analysis identifies overall success with regard to environmental and deployment goals, and limited success in the goal of renewable energy industry promotion, which is devoid of indigenous manufacturing. In addition, impacts, including the dominance of the FiT as the initial stimulus for rapid PV deployment, cost impacts on electricity bills for various FiT settings, and the dependence of PV employment numbers on the continuation of the FiT are also identified. Finally, inequitable outcomes due to the FiT, such as cross-subsidisation from non-solar to solar households are also detailed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment