The UNSW scientist who became the world’s first solar billionaire has urged energy market regulators to catch up with renewable energy technology and encourage its rollout, instead of impeding it.
“Solar is here,” said Zhengrong Shi, the founder and former CEO of Chinese solar giant Suntech, otherwise known as the Sun King.
“Regulators need to encourage and promote the application of this new technology. We are not going to step it, it’s better to push this application quickly,” he told a NSW government-sponsored Solar Breakfast in Sydney on Monday.
The response of regulators in Australia to the massive rollout of rooftop solar has been slow and disjointed.
The policy and pricing regulators have been criticised for not keeping up with the technology cost falls, and recent decisions have suggested that the incumbent utilities are looking to make rooftop solar less attractive, and slow down its deployment, despite rhetoric that suggests otherwise.
The regulatory hurdles, which include access to connections, a “fair price” for solar, the structure of tariffs, particularly the lifting of fixed charges, and the ability to “share solar,” have become a key issue for the industry.
“Solar PV is here to stay,” added professor Martin Green, the head of solar research at UNSW, speaking at the same event.
“It will become the lowest-cost option for energy technologies, the whole system will have to adjust to that reality.”
Top image: Prof Zhenrong Shi, via World Economic Forum
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