Friday the 13th a horror day for solar
13 May 2011
It’s Friday the 13th and the New South Wales Government has just managed to come out with an announcement that perfectly captures the date’s reputation for doom and misfortune. Today, the newly elected O’Farrell Government announced that it was immediately ending the main policy that had supported the solar panel industry for the past two years. This policy helped grow the solar industry significantly and demonstrated the incredible appetite Australians have for renewable energy.
What’s more, the government are retrospectively changing the policy so that it will only pay owners of solar panels two-thirds the amount they had been promised under the policy as it was brought in.
Tens of thousands of people have installed solar panels under this scheme. Determined to do something for the environment and also help manage their own electricity bills, this policy made solar affordable to many people in New South Wales, especially in regional and outer-urban areas. I dare say that many household budgets were also built around the “guaranteed” income that would be provided to pay back the cost of the solar panels.
Now, everyone who has installed solar panels under this scheme will be receiving only two-thirds of what the policy – as a piece of law – guaranteed them.
This is also possibly the worst signal sent to the solar industry in many years. Growing industries need to have confidence and long-term certainty in the policies that support them. The solar industry still haven’t been told whether or not they have a future in New South Wales – now the government is effectively saying it can’t be trusted to even honour commitments made in existing law.
This is a very dark day for Australia’s solar industry. Supportive policy in this country has shown just how popular and effective solar power can be but the New South Wales Government has managed to take industry decimation and community mistrust to new heights with this reckless move.
We’d love to hear what you think about this, especially if you’ve installed or wanted to install solar panels in New South Wales. I’m sure that Premier Barry O’Farrell would love to hear what you thought of today’s announcement too. In fact, here’s his number: 02 9228 5239. Give him a call – tell him what you think of how he is gutting the state’s solar industry.