New South Wales Solar Bonus Scheme On Hold

Sky Image: BigStock

The New South Wales government announced on Friday that applications to the NSW Solar Bonus Scheme have been placed on hold and no new applications to the Scheme would be considered from midnight Thursday, 28 April 2011. 
   
Rates for the hugely popular solar feed in tariff program were originally unexpectedly slashed from 60c/kWh to 20c/kWh for new connections in late October, 2010. As for the program’s future and form after the latest announcement – that is a very good question and one at this stage with no answer.
 
The NSW Government is recommending consumers purchasing solar power systems to install net metering and to research energy retailers who offer separate financial incentives for solar households.
   
According to national solar power solutions provider Energy Matters‘ CEO Jeremy Rich, the announcement is just another slap in the face for the solar industry and Australians who are trying to make the shift to clean, renewable energy sources.
   
“This boom and bust policy approach to solar power must end. We understand there are all sorts of forces at work seeking to stop the rise of solar, but the global renewables revolution will continue to gain momentum. Soon solar will be cheaper than fossil fuel – it already is elsewhere – and that day can arrive even faster in Australia with solid, responsible policies in place that encourage investment and uptake.”
   
“What Federal and State governments also need to consider is whether they want Australia seen as a renewable energy leader or lagger. New South Wales was briefly a leader in small scale solar support in this country – now it’s at the bottom of the pile.” 
   
The scheme has been a victim of its own success and of those who plotted against home solar power uptake in the state. Purposely or unintentionally spread myths, misinformation and exaggerations have become rampant, to the point the inaccuracies have at times become accepted as fact. 
   
With policy flip-flopping and influence from the anti-solar power quarter, it comes as little surprise that Australia still relies so heavily on emissions intensive coal fired power generation and is one of the most greenhouse gas intensive countries per capita in the world.
  
Given the history of solar rebates and incentives in Australia being sliced, diced and butchered – at times with little or no warning – and the rush on systems when warnings are given, Energy Matters advises the best time to buy solar power always tends to be “right now” – as who knows what tomorrow will bring?