Mildura Development Corporation - submission to medium-scale solar discussion paper
Medium-Scale Solar Working Group - November 2010
Re: Discussion Paper
Mildura Development Corporation (MDC) is a not for profit regional development organisation that is responsible for the delivery of economic development across the Mildura Rural City Council municipality. MDC has concentrated on marketing the region for solar power generation, which has led to the project proposal of Mallee Solar Park - a utility scale solar power development.
Throughout this process MDC has, in conjunction with Mildura Rural City Council, closely researched the solar industry, including the incentives utilised to encourage its development in other countries. MDC and MRCC engaged Firestarter Communications to investigate the most beneficial incentive programs for a variety of solar scale projects. A copy of the report is attached for your further information.
MDC was also fortunate enough to be presented with a report which outlined the legislation put into place by Germany which introduced their gross Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) regime which has proven so successful in developing the solar industry. A copy of that report is also attached as part of this submission for the working group's information.
In relation to the discussion paper, MDC would make the following points:
1. Potential Barriers
As well as the barriers that are acknowledged in the discussion paper and those discussed at the Community and Industry forum, please find the following:
a. Community education and engagement
This is a very important part of the overall process in establishing solar facilities, either on commercial roof space or ground mounted medium scale. Unless communities and industry are provided with a range of information on the benefits of distributed generation, and also understand the importance of energy efficiency in terms of energy usage, they will remain disenchanted with any medium scale solar projects owing to the upfront capital cost of installation.
Communities and industries also need to be made aware of any incentive packages, of clean and green power generation in terms of potential carbon pricing and of the aggregated costs of ground mounted medium scale as opposed to costs and OH&S issues associated with commercial roof space. MDC has received funding via Regional Development Victoria to engage a Project Officer to work with local industry sectors in linking them into the solar power industry along with the investigation and encouragement of small and medium scale solar and the project will be carefully assessing the above points.
2. Broader Policy Areas
a. Regional Development
This is a very important policy area in the development of solar power generally and for medium scale solar. The regions provide a great opportunity for all scale solar developments, particularly those in the north of the state with better solar insolation rates. This provides regional diversification and will create and sustain a new industry sector in areas that have been challenged by drought, water policy and commodity prices.
The Northern Loddon Mallee Regional Strategic Plan has identified the development of solar as a key activity.
Export produce from regional Victoria is known for its clean and green reputation.
The development of solar power in the regions will complement clean and green food production with clean and green power production - small, medium and utility scale.
a. In regard to incentives such as developing a gross FiT for medium scale, I would refer the working group to the documents attached, particularly the German model which has been hailed worldwide as one of the best FiT schemes for renewable energy industry development and has been adjusted accordingly as module prices decrease.
Chief Executive Officer