Australia’s Solar Credits Rebate To Be Slashed Further?

Currency Image: BigStock

Australia’s popular Solar Credits rebate is already facing an early reduction, with possibly another to follow says a report in a major newspaper.

Currently, the Solar Credits scheme is based on a 5X  renewable energy certificate multiplier. The 5X multiplier was originally slated to reduce to 4X in July 2012; but in December last year, the government announced the Solar Credits multiplier reduction would be brought forward by one year.

The first early reduction, which occurs on July 1, 2011, translates to a loss of up to $1,200 in rebates on the purchase of a system from July onwards. The looming deadline has seen a rush on solar power installations throughout the country as systems must be installed, rather than just ordered as has been the case in other early solar rebate reductions, by midnight on June 30 in order to be eligible for the full Solar Credits rebate.

According to a Sydney Morning Herald article, the government is also considering reducing the new multiplier level from four to three earlier again and making changes to the subsidy to encourage buyers of solar panels to purchase larger systems.

The article also appears to allude to solar power being a major culprit in electricity price rises; a myth that has repeatedly been busted; most recently by the Australian Government’s climate change advisor, Professor Ross Garnaut.

Another contentious point mentioned in the report is the value of solar panels in terms of greenhouse gas emissions reduction. The article claims small scale solar power systems reduce greenhouse emissions at a cost of about $200 or $300 a tonne of carbon dioxide. National solar power solutions provider Energy Matters calculates the cost of carbon abatement of a 1.5kW home solar power system at far less, approximately $80 per tonne over 25 years at the current full 5X multiplier subsidisation level.

Given a rooftop solar panel array will likely produce clean electricity beyond the 25 year time frame and coupled with rebates reductions already in the pipeline, Energy Matters says carbon abatement will be even cheaper in terms of subsidisation under the current rebate reduction schedule.