Survey Reveals Depth Of NSW Solar Industry Crisis

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A recent survey of 91 solar businesses in New South Wales has shown 25% have closed or will close their doors in the next month due to conditions sparked by the NSW government’s handling of the state’s Solar Bonus Scheme.
The survey, carried out by the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), also found 416 solar jobs have been lost since November 2010 and a 93% drop-off in daily solar sales enquiries since that time.
A joint release from the SEIA and the Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES) states a further loss of 108 jobs is expected by the end of this month and up to 3,700 jobs in the solar sector could go by the end of the year under current conditions.
While the situation in the state has proved to be incredibly challenging for the industry, some companies are toughing it out. 
According to Jeremy Rich, CEO of national solar solutions provider Energy Matters, the company has no intention of closing its NSW branch. 
“It’s a shocking situation in New South Wales and we really feel for people losing their jobs. Thankfully, we’ve built our company enough to withstand this current situation and we are continuing to install systems in the state; helping NSW households reduce their rapidly escalating electricity bills”.
“Regardless, something must be done in order to ensure a viable NSW solar sector. A fair approach can see the state regain its previous reputation for renewables support and more households will be able to reduce their energy costs. All the industry wants is a fair price paid to owners of solar power systems for the surplus electricity they generate – and not next year, as that will be too late. It’s needed right now.”
Mr. Rich points out that with NSW electricity costs rising by a staggering 17 per cent in July and further increases expected within the next 12 months; installing a solar power system in NSW is still a good investment – even during this period of feed in tariff limbo. Some electricity retailers in the state are offering feed in tariff arrangements and the NSW Government has stated new home solar power system installations in the state would be eligible for net metering.
The SEIA and AuSES have again written to the New South Wales Government, outlining their grave concerns that the results of a critical IPART review of solar feed in tariff arrangements in the state will arrive too late for the industry. The IPART review will not be completed and submitted until April next year.
“This is having a devastating impact on our industry…the policy vacuum has meant the solar industry has now ground to a halt in NSW,” states part of the letter.