NSW Solar Summit 2 Announced

Sky Image: BigStock

New South Wales Minister for Resources and Energy, Chris Hartcher has announced the NSW Solar Summit 2, which will be held on 1 July, 2011 at the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources.
Mr. Hartcher says the event will be an important pathway toward the management of the renewable energy sector in New South Wales. In spite of some of the treatment the solar industry has experienced in the state recently that may seem to indicate otherwise, the Minister stated that solar energy is a “key part” of NSW’s renewables program.
“The NSW Government remains committed to renewable energy with a focus on sensible, sustained and affordable progress for renewables,” said Mr. Hartcher.
The first Solar Summit in May resulted in the closing of the state’s Solar Bonus Scheme. The circumstances surrounding that meeting were criticised by Liberal MP Catherine Cusack who said the people denied a voice at the summit were the same people the Government said should bear all the costs of the decision. 
After the recent uproar in connection with the NSW’s Government’s failed attempt to renege on existing contracts with households participating in the Solar Bonus Scheme, it would appear the next summit may be more inclusive of various stakeholders. According to a press release from Mr. Hartcher’s office, the next Solar Summit will involve “industry and government representatives, energy experts, and consumer and environment groups”.
NSW Solar Summit 2 will seek to establish options for a fair price for solar generated electricity – a situation urgently requiring attention according to the solar industry as currently NSW is only offering net metering on a mandatory basis; with some electricity companies profiting from the situation through the resale of solar electricity generated by home solar power systems at a premium.
Solar Summit 2 will also seek to find a practical way forward for small, medium and large scale solar in NSW, examine peak load management strategies to reduce energy costs and consumption and also to discuss the future of renewable energy investment in the state. 
The Summit will inform the development of a Solar Action Plan to provide a “predictable and stable operating environment for solar investment, research and development in NSW”.
Another important upcoming event on the solar industry calendar is the Greens-led Solar Roundtable Conference on July 8. The conference is part of a deal agreed to between the Federal Government and the Greens in February this year.