Solar Council fears the RET review could end incentives for small-scale solar

The Australian Solar Council fears that the entire government rebate for small scale rooftop systems could be removed by the Abbott government’s renewable energy scheme review.

John Grimes, the chief executive of the ASC, said it was clear that the new RET review panel (which he has described as a “stitch up” would side with big business, which wants the Renewable Energy Target diluted.

Big utilities are particularly concerned about solar, which is eroding revenue during the day – traditionally the most profitable period for generators and retailers.

“They (the government) want to protect the big utilities,” Grimes told the ABC Background Briefing program. “And the way they will do that is to eliminate all support for rooftop solar. And we think that that’s outrageous.”

Grimes was also critical of a briefing hosted by the RET review committee, and its decision not to include major benefits of rootop solar in its calculations on the impacts of the RET. More than 1.2 million homes in Australia now have rooftop solar PV, a combined capacity of more than 3.1GW.

Matthew Warren, the head of the Electricity Supply Association of Australia, which represents major suppliers, told the program that the RET is “broken” and needs to be wound back.

Climate Change Authority chairman Bernie Fraser told the program that he is “sick and disappointed” by the rhetoric surrounding renewables.

The CCA in late 2012 rejected attempts by the incumbent coal-fired industry and network operators to wind back the RET, saying it had clear benefits and little cost.

“Policy makers need to look beyond short term economic considerations and the interests of some of the big companies, and to longer term community interests,” Fraser said. “That’s what governments are supposed to do. Unfortunately, it’s not happening at the present time.”

© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson