Premium residential solar feed-in tariffs have come under considerable scrutiny in Australia over the past 12 months following a sharp rise in the uptake of subsidised PV units and subsidy cost blow-outs. Using New South Wales data, Nelson, Simshauser and Kelley (2011) demonstrated that the inherent design of premium 'gross' feed-in tariffs are regressive in nature and required reform. Since the publication of that article in Economic Analysis & Policy (September 2011 edition), feed-in tariff policies have been substantially wound back in all Australian jurisdictions except Queensland. In this article, we examine the 'net' feed-in tariff in Queensland and similarly find it to be a regressive form of taxation. We also examine the so-called 'merit order effect' - a purported 'economic benefit' arising from premium feed-in tariffs. However, the evidence is clear that merit order effects must, by definition, be transient and above all, are not welfare enhancing.
Nelson, T., Simshauser, P., & Nelson, J. (2012). Queensland Solar Feed-In Tariffs and the Merit-Order Effect: Economic Benefit, or Regressive Taxation and Wealth Transfers? Economic Analysis and Policy, 42(3), 277–301. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0313-5926(12)50030-5