Australian Greens Announce Solar Roundtable Conference

Australia has lost its best and brightest solar prospects to flourishing markets in Germany, the USA and China over many years as a result of systemic government failure to support large-scale solar power infrastructure, according to Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne.
   
This issue of funding the development of a baseload solar energy sector in Australia will be discussed at an industry and governmental roundtable conference on July 8 organised by the Greens. 
   
The talks will encompass important issues facing large-scale solar energy deployment across Australia, such as the necessity and success of feed-in tariffs in nurturing international solar markets. Examples will be presented to government representatives. 
   
The roundtable is part of a deal struck between the government and the Greens back in February. When the government planned to slash funding for the Solar Flagships scheme to pay for flood damage, the Greens negotiated the return of $100 million of funding and the commitment to hold the talks. 
   
Senator Milne said the Solar Flagship program was poorly-designed and the roundtable would be a chance for the industry to inform government policies that would build an industrial-scale solar sector like those seen overseas.
   
"From its very first announcement, the solar industry has repeatedly told Minister Ferguson and his department that the Solar Flagships scheme would not work, but they would not listen," Senator Milne said.
    
"I will take part in the roundtable to make doubly sure that the government listens to the solar industry this time, instead of designing another ad hoc photo opportunity that is doomed to failure."
    
Senator Milne cited the loss of Origin Energy’s Sliver cell plant from Adelaide to the US as an example of world-leading solar technologies moving offshore because of a lack of policy support in Australia.
    
"I hope this roundtable can be an important step in bringing them home," she said.