Australia’s commercial-scale solar market would quickly evaporate if the federal government adopted the policy changes recommended in the RET Review report, industry insiders have warned.
Solar PV installers and analysts say the measures, put forward by the panel appointed by the Abbott government to review Australia’s 2020 Renewable Energy Target, would bring the nation’s fastest growing solar market to an effective halt.
The panel, headed up by climate sceptic Dick Warburton, has recommended the immediate closure of incentives for small-scale solar, or the lowering of the eligibility for those certificates from 100kW to 10kW.
Commercial-scale solar – projects between 10kW and 100kW – was slow to take off in Australia, but has accounted for around 20 per cent of new installations in recent months, as businesses move to cut electricity costs.
But this nascent market would be snuffed out if the above review recommendations were adopted, industry says.
“This will decimate the Australian commercial solar sector, and put us back to the stone ages,” said on installer.
‘This, as the rest of the world continues to adopt commercial solar solutions at a rapid pace, helping their counties to reduce their dependance on fossil fuels.
“Renewable energy is only going down in cost, whilst fossil fuels will continue to rise in cost. This change to the Renewable Energy Target if actually adopted in Australia will make Australia business uncompetitive going forward,” he said.
Warwick Johntson, from leading research firm Sunwiz, said cutting the eligibility to the SRES from 100kW to 10kW would force commercial businesses to install expensive meters – offsetting any benefits from installing rooftop solar.
“The commercial sector was a big growth area for the industry, taking about 20 per cent of the capacity in recent months because businesses were looking to install solar systems to reduce costs.”
He also said such a move to reduce the eligibility could raise safety issues, as such systems would no longer be regulated under thE SRES scheme – and encourage installers to use cheap and poor quality products.
© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd