NSW Solar Crisis Deepens

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The New South Wales solar industry and households wanting to make the switch to solar panels have suffered greatly in the last few months due to State government policy – or more accurately, lack thereof – and the crisis could continue until at least April next year.

According to Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES) Chief Executive John Grimes, the State Government has revealed it will not be making a decision on solar policy until at least April 2012 when it receives an IPART review into a “fair and reasonable price” for surplus electricity generated by home solar power systems that is exported to the mains grid.

“We simply won’t have an industry by April 2012. We will struggle to save the industry in coming weeks let alone a year,” said Mr. Grimes. “The NSW Government seems blind, deaf and indifferent to the concerns of the State’s solar industry.”

Three months after the New South Wales’ government’s first Solar Summit, the industry has seen solar installations plummet by 88%, representing a $800 million cut in retail sales value according to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) NSW Chairman Geoff Bragg.

“More than 100 jobs have been lost, a number of companies have shut up shop and 3,700 jobs could be lost by the end of the year.”

AuSES and SEIA have again called on the NSW Government to immediately set a fair price for solar to ensure households are paid the same amount for the electricity they produce as they have to pay for polluting power from the electricity grid. The industry bodies will be writing to all NSW MPs, calling for a swift resolution to the solar crisis.

After the shambolic end to the State’s Solar Bonus Scheme, worsened by the NSW Government’s attempt to renege on contractual commitments with solar households, net metering was introduced. However, there is no set amount electricity retailers need to pay or credit solar power system owners for the surplus electricity they generate.