Twice defeated, Queensland government “finally” calls for solar industry round table

The Queensland government will meet with the state’s solar industry for an “urgent industry roundtable,” after its latest efforts to enforce controversial new panel installation rules were defeated in the Court of Appeal.

The meeting – something the solar industry has been pushing for since the rule change was first flagged by the government – would be urgently convened by the state’s Electrical Safety Commissioner, a statement said on Tuesday.

The move back to the negotiating table follows the state government’s failed bid to overturn the May 29 Supreme Court ruling that invalidated safety regulations rushed into effect in mid-May, requiring only licensed electricians to mount and fix solar panels on projects 100kW and larger.

The win was welcomed by the owners of the 35MW Brigalow solar farm, which is under construction in south-east Queensland, who brought the case against the government backed by the Clean Energy Council.

In a short statement on Wednesday, Impact Investment Group – whose solar arm owns the Brigalow project – noted the government had “finally done what we said was needed from the start: convene a roundtable to properly consult with the industry.”The Queensland government, meanwhile, shows little sign of a change of heart on solar rule changes, and has raised the prospect of legislative changes to the Electrical Safety Act.

“The Palaszczuk government accepts (the) decision of the Court of Appeal but is disappointed by the result,” Queensland’s minister for Industrial Relations, Grace Grace said. “Today’s decision is about a technical legal ruling and does not deal with the substantive safety reasoning behind the making of the solar farms regulation.