FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Australia, one of the world’s biggest users of rooftop solar panels, likely added the most new capacity on record last year as electricity users sought to ease escalating power bills.A preliminary estimate by Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator of 1.05 gigawatts installed last year would be a record for the country, the government body said in an emailed statement Friday. While subsidies and generous feed-in tariffs helped boost growth earlier this decade, last year’s gains were driven by users seeking to sidestep a surge in the cost of electricity and a push by vendors into the commercial sector, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.“We are on track to have had the biggest year yet for installed small-scale solar capacity” in 2017, according to the regulator statement. “What we have seen is that homeowners and businesses continue to embrace solar panel systems, which is driving increased levels of capacity across Australia.”The shift to solar may have quickened as power prices spiked last year on tight supplies of coal and gas, which fuel the bulk of generation capacity on the national electricity market. BNEF estimates the cost of solar systems for residential customers has declined 44 percent since 2012.“The payback period for residential solar is now as low as it was in 2012, when super-generous feed-in tariffs and subsidies drove a massive boom in installations,” said BNEF’s Sydney-based analyst Annabel Wilton.Rooftop solar will account for as much as 24 percent of Australia’s electricity by 2040, according to BNEF’s 2017 New Energy Outlook. When combined with small-scale batteries and demand response initiatives, up to 45 percent of the country’s total power capacity will be located on owners’ properties—known as behind-the-meter-capacity—by 2040.More: Surging Power Bills Spark Rush for Household Solar in Australia Australian Solar Installations Set Record in 2017
In the same period, the number of industry-wide pension funds fell 40%, from 96 to 59.The DNB figures showed that most consolidation has involved pension rights transferring to insurers or industry-wide schemes.However, since 1 July 2016, more than €4bn of pension assets has been transferred to the new general pension funds (APF). APFs were introduced on 1 January 2016. Almost the entire amount has being placed in single-client compartments.In addition, since 1 July 2016 more than €2.4bn of pension rights was placed in a cross-border vehicle based outside of the Netherlands.According to DNB, this involved a limited number of multi-nationals. Companies such as Aon Hewitt have combined their pension arrangements in several EU member states into a single company scheme.The regulator said €13.3bn was transferred out of liquidating or merging schemes last year. with more than €3.3bn going to sector schemes and €515m to company pension funds.Premium pension institutions (PPI) – a low-cost defined contribution vehicle – gained €36m from the consolidation process.The watchdog said that a pension fund’s decision to liquidate or merge was often triggered by a combination of developments, such as increasing costs of pensions provision, legal demands, difficulties finding suitable board members, and a pension fund’s financial position or demography.Corporate mergers and liquidations, as well as changes to pension arrangements, also played a role, DNB said.DNB said it expected that every pension fund considered its long-term viability and also had a strategy for its future.It underlined the importance of a vision for the future by citing the lack of clarity about the sector’s future pending a review of the entire Dutch pensions system.For 2017, DNB said it had identified 22 pension funds as being “extra vulnerable” and that it had requested these schemes to draw up a plan for their future. Consolidation of the Netherlands’ pension funds is to continue, according to the country’s regulator, with the number of schemes forecast to drop to just over 200.De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) said that, of the current 268 pension funds, 45 have indicated that they intended to liquidate.The total number of Dutch pension funds dropped from more than 1,000 in 1997 to 713 in 2007.Company pension funds accounted for most of the decline, DNB said, with numbers falling from 605 to 192 in the past 10 years – a 70% drop.