Wednesday, 8 June 2011

NSW Solar Changes - Industry response

Clean Energy Council
24 May 2011

The NSW Government's solar power decision today will anger many households, but will save more than 5000 jobs in this vital industry, according to the Clean Energy Council. Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Matthew Warren said the O'Farrell Government had been forced to deal with a diabolical policy problem in cleaning up the oversubscribed Solar Bonus Scheme.

The government announced a support package to help solar households in hardship as part of its decision to reduce the feed in tariff from 60¢ to 40¢ and honour existing applications. "The Clean Energy Council argued strongly for the honouring of existing applications, avoiding any cuts to existing household support and the evolution of a new scheme to continue the success of the solar industry in NSW", Mr Warren said.

"Today's announcement shows the Government is committed to sustaining a viable solar industry, but it comes at a terrible price. "The retrospective reduction in the feed in tariff remains unacceptable for solar households and we remain committed to the retention of the existing rate for those who signed up to the scheme in good faith".

More than 40,000 applications lodged with the government under the scheme were on the line and solar companies had invested hundreds of millions of dollars in stock for these new systems. "Failing to honour these deals would immediately send the industry to the wall", Mr Warren said. "There are still significant uncertainties going forward. The survival of the solar industry in Australia remains at stake. "The challenge remains to quickly develop a new scheme that continues to deliver affordable clean energy to NSW households and businesses and continue to build this vital new NSW industry".