Tax Coal Power To Pay For Solar Bonus Scheme – Greens

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As the New South Wales Labor government lurches toward a possible electoral annihilation on the 26th of March, the state’s Greens are proposing the resurrection of the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme, which the Keneally government brutally pared back in October last year. 
      
The Greens say they would increase the solar feed-in tariff rate to 35 cents, and pay for a range of other solar energy measures, by imposing a yearly tax on coal-fired power stations. 
   
The New South Wales Solar Bonus Scheme paid owners of small-scale solar energy systems 60 cents per kilowatt hour for all electricity generated. This feed-in tariff rate was the most generous in Australia. However, the Solar Bonus Scheme became a victim of its own success: it caused the household solar installation industry in NSW to explode. 
   
When total installations reached 100MW by October 2010 – double that of expected capacity for 2012, when the scheme was to be reviewed – the government, hounded by the NSW opposition, cut the feed-in tariff rate to just 20 cents p/KWH overnight. The plan backfired, causing widespread damage to the New South Wales solar energy industry, which is still reeling from the effects. 
  
Greens MP and energy spokesman John Kaye joined with candidate for the seat of Balmain Jamie Parker to launch their “Reigniting the Rooftop Solar Plan” policy which would:
  
– Boost the solar bonus rate by 75 percent to 35 c/kWh. At this level, the roof top installation industry would enter a steady growth period that would rebuild confidence.
  
– Provide a pool of loan funding for low income households, aged-care facilities and renters to benefit from roof top solar panels. The pool would offer low interest loans to purchase and install solar systems. 
  
– Pay for the costs of running the scheme from a licence fee on coal-fired power stations. 
  
“The future is with distributed energy systems like rooftop solar. The cost of Labor’s incompetence has been a solar industry in deep depression and a massive political backlash against renewable energy,” Mr Parker said.