Combet pulls plug on rebates: solar coaster in full flight

Greg ‘kneejerk’ Combet seems to enjoy the solar coaster

What solar buyers need to know: If you buy a solar system after the 16th November 2012, you have to have it installed before Jan 1 2013 to claim the current rebate. If your system is installed after that date your solar system will cost approximately $1,000 more regardless of what size you buy.

Well that was quick wasn’t it? Just when you thought the Federal Government’s collective speed on any given issue was only marginally faster than my first car (a VW Type 3: nought to 50 kms/hr in 30 minutes) … out comes a lightning-fast decision from the desk of Climate Change Minister Greg “Coalface” Combet.

We are, of course, talking about last week’s rapid fire decision by the Minister for Climate Change (how Orwellian is that folks?) to pull the plug on solar rooftop panels six months earlier than planned. This is a move that looks likely to contribute further to the familiar “boom and bust” cycle of the Australian solar industry and has been slammed by solar energy groups.

Unheralded and without negotiation with the industry, the announcement appeared like one of those sudden deluges that are sweeping the eastern parts of the continent at present, and with the potential to do far more damage.

Truth is, those in the solar industry with a bit of nous should have seen this coming. The Feds, along with their conservative state government cohorts, have been gradually peeling back financial support in the form of rebates and feed-in tariffs.

John Grimes, chief executive of the Australian Solar Council, hit the nail on the head when he told reporters the decision was just one part of the government’s roller coaster policy ride on solar energy.

“People refer to this as the solar-coaster ride,” Mr Grimes said. “Our standing joke is that a day is a long time in solar policy.”

Perhaps the only thing left recommending fossil fuel pollies like Combet to folks in the solar power industry is a quick glance at the other side of the fence. Wingnuts galore there on the Opposition side of the Treasury benches with not only pro fossil fuel lobbyists but also more than a fair smattering of climate change deniers.

Anyway, are you, like a great number of solar energy fans, “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore?” Perhaps one way is to show your resentment at the ballot box. Another is to join marches or protests against these cuts.

A third option for us armchair warriors is to sign a petition. Here’s one to get you started.

Don’t forget to have your say about solar rebate cuts, and on any solar energy matter, on our Facebook Page. Oh and enjoy the solar-coaster ride!

Comments

  1. robyn schomberg says

    Well you have managed to do it again Julia when I got a quote to insulate my home through your scheme it was suddenly squashed with weeks notice. Thanks for that.

    Now here we go again we have just got a quote this week for solar power thinking we had time to look into it and now we have a deadline. It sucks and cant wait to vote labour out. Promises they cant keep.

  2. ambiguous statement please clarify which date is correct. either november 2012 or jan 2012

    What solar buyers need to know: If you buy a solar system after the 16th November 2012, you have to have it installed before Jan 1 2012 to claim the current rebate.

    • Hi Paul,

      Sorry that was a typo (now fixed) it should say:

      “What solar buyers need to know: If you buy a solar system after the 16th November 2012, you have to have it installed before Jan 1 2013 to claim the current rebate.”

      Further clarification:

      If you bought the system (i.e. signed a contract) before 16th Nov 2012 you get until June 2013 to get it installed at the current rebate.

      If you buy the system after 16th Nov 2012 you have to have it installed before Jan 1 2013 to claim the current rebate.

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