Australia’s decision to phase out solar credits attracts controversy

It was reported last week that the Australian Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency announced support for household solar installations will begin to be phased out a year earlier than previously planned, in recognition of "significant reductions" in the cost of solar panels.

However, while Energy Matters CEO Jeremy Rich acknowledges that the price of solar power equipment has come down, he says there is still some way to go to make it truly competitive with fossil fuel based generation. He adds that the solar industry is expecting to be heavily impacted by the change to Solar Credits.

"While at least this time around there’s been notice of the change instead of the ‘midnight tonight’ type rebate-change deadlines we’ve seen in the past; this doesn’t bode well for the industry, green jobs, households wanting to reduce emissions and avoid looming electricity hikes; nor does it bode well for the environment," he comments.

"For example, everyone is still hurting from the slashing of the New South Wales feed in tariff just over a month ago; to the point some in the industry have already laid off staff. Add this extra gutting of solar rebates from next July and it’s another nail in the coffin for a bright future for home solar power in that state. It certainly won’t help improve uptake in other states either."

He goes on to say that reducing subsidies before a carbon price is introduced will dramatically set the industry back.

Meanwhile, according to Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage Greg Hunt: "This confirmation of solar chaos demonstrates again a pattern of environmental disaster under Labor."