RET review recommendations would kill commercial solar market if implemented

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

Giles Parkinson

Giles Parkinson regularly contributes unique content to Solar Choice News. Giles is the founder and editor of clean energy industry news service RenewEconomy. He is a journalist of 30 years experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Financial Review, a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the founding editor of Climate Spectator.
Giles Parkinson

Comments

  1. Hi Giles,

    I think this is the purpose and intent of the review and actions being taken by Government.
    They want to protect the revenue from the commercial sector.

    I was surprised to read in Renew Economy

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/california-examines-role-distribution-evolving-market-21683

    recently the current planning being undertaken in California around the integration of renewable technologies including storage.

    Shouldn’t something similar be on the agenda for the industry here in Australia? How would we get this onto the agenda? Maybe we unite what’s left of the industry and go hell for leather to get this onto a state’s agenda?

    Accepting defeat is simply not an option

    Cheers

    1. Hi Jason,

      We totally agree! The industry is fighting back with everything it has at the moment–making it harder and harder for the government to keep up the ‘renewables are driving up prices’ story of its sham review.

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