As of today, Meridian is heavily reducing their buy-back price for solar power. The price has been 25 cents per kWh for the first 5kWh exported to the grid in a day, then it dropped down to 10 cents per kWh thereafter. The cut brings the price down to 7 cents per kWh in summer and 10 cents per kWh in the winter.
The solar industry has heard for many years from Meridian that they are committed to the solar industry. Yet it seems that Meridian has had a change of heart. The price they are paying is now in line with what they would pay the coal power plants and the hydro power stations for their power. Although that doesn't take into account that solar power is a distributed generation source, so it doesn't need to travel through the high voltage lines to get to their consumers.
Earlier this week the solar industry had another big blow from Contact Energy who had also significantly dropped their buy-back rate for exported solar power. They were offering 17 cents per kWh, but are also now only offering 8 cents per kWh.
On a more positive note, maybe this will cause an out cry and give the push the Government needs to set a feed-in tariff for solar power. A feed-in tariff would be a premium price set that all energy retailers have to pay to solar power owners for exporting power to the grid. This is a policy that the Green Party has introduced and are working hard to pass through Government.
Another point to make is that maybe not all is lost because of new solar technology that is being brought out into the market. A New Zealand based company S4Solar has introduced a product called the feed-in fighter. This is a controlling system that will send solar power to home and business electrical appliances when the sun is out, instead of exporting excess power to the grid.