16 November 2012

Today’s reduction of solar incentives by the Federal Government removes the need for further changes to the small-scale part of Australia’s 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target, according to the clean energy industry. Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh said the cost cuts stemming from the announcement should effectively mark the end of the review of Australia’s 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target. “The changes remove the effect of the multiplier for solar panels and erode all arguments for further changes to the Renewable Energy Target,” Mr Marsh said. “The solar industry now urges the Federal Government to wrap up the current review of the scheme to deliver much-needed stability to the sector.”

Mr Marsh said the solar industry was disappointed with the timing of today’s announcement to halve the level of support for solar panels six months earlier than planned, as it followed considerable reductions in support from state governments over recent months.

“This cut further contributes to massive uncertainty and change within the solar industry. Despite the constant changing of incentives for solar, the resilience of the industry – along with the determination of consumers to protect themselves from rising energy bills – has contributed to ongoing cost reductions for solar panels in Australia.

“We would have expected the government to have more regard for the sense of investor uncertainty today’s announcement creates, right at the time when both major parties are seeking to demonstrate that Australia is a reliable place in which to invest, with stable and consistent market rules.

“Despite this uncertainty, the solar industry continues to outperform all expectations. While it is appropriate that governments continue to review the level of incentives, it’s important that this is handled carefully and timed sensibly,” Mr Marsh said. The costs of supporting schemes for solar have been overstated, according to Mr Marsh. “Just last week the Climate Change Authority revealed that the cost of incentives for small-scale solar (through the Renewable Energy Target) were less than 2 per cent of retail electricity bills. This small cost has delivered both solar panels and solar hot water to over a million Australian homes and helped protect them from rising energy bills.”

Taken from the Clean Energy Website: