THURSDAY 01 MARCH, 2012 |
Solar Hot Water Rebate Axing Fallout
The unexpected end to the Federal Government's solar hot water rebate has sent
shock-waves throughout the industry and stirred up fears a similar fate may await
rebates for rooftop solar power systems.
Late Tuesday afternoon, the Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and
Energy Efficiency, Mark Dreyfus, announced
the sudden closure
of the Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme that provided
rebates of $1,000 to install a solar
hot water system
or $600 to install a heat
Systems must have been installed, ordered with a deposit or purchased on or
before 28 February 2012. Applications lodged up to 30 June 2012 will continue to
The announcement has since been vigorously criticised by the industry, its
supporters and those considering installing a solar hot water system. Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt
labelled the action as "solar vandalism".
Clean Energy Council† (CEC
Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the sudden end to the rebate will put
more than 1200 manufacturing jobs and 6000 installation, sales and
administrative jobs at risk.†
"Cutting this program without warning in the middle of a financial year is yet another example of stop-start policy making that continues to plague the entire clean energy sector. It has given the industry no time to prepare and makes business planning almost impossible."
The Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES
) called on the Australian Government to reinstate the
"It seems Australians are now being punished for supporting one of the most successful clean energy programs introduced in recent
years," said AuSES Chief Executive, John Grimes.
"The disastrous solar policy roller-coaster continues. Another solar scheme shut down without notice, more solar jobs lost. Thatís bad policy and bad
Mr. Grimes said with water heating being the single largest source of carbon
pollution associated with Australia households, it makes sense to encourage
Australians to invest in solar hot water.
Professor Ray Wills, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Association of Australia
), echoed the
"The renewable energy industry continues to be plagued by government
decisions at both Federal and State levels that lead to boom/ bust cycles and
fail to provide the conditions needed to grow the industry sustainably ... In 2012 we should have learnt something from the poor decisions of 2011
- it appears we have not."
Solar hot water systems and heat pumps will still be eligible for Small-scale
Technology Certificates (STCs), which are usually exchanged for a point-of-sale
discount on systems. Depending on the state where the systems will be installed,
State government incentives may also apply.
The rebate situation for rooftop solar
currently remains unchanged, however, the Solar
will be further slashed by 33% in a few months. Given the
sudden and premature axing of the Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme, some fear a
nasty surprise may be lurking for the Solar Credits incentive also.
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