There’s a new spring in the step of investors in big solar as confidence that has been lacking during the Abbott years has been boosted following the Turnbull takeover.
The level of enthusiasm for solar power in Australia — and large-scale projects in particular — has been remarkable. The removal of the anti-renewables team of Abbott and Hockey (let’s call it like it is) hasn’t completely dissipated attempts to dismantle renewable energy in Australia. Witness the indecent rush to approve the Adani mine in Queensland as an indicator of the strength of the fossil fuel lobby.
However the removal of the Abbott administration and replacement with the more urbane, measured and supportive approach of the Turnbull team is paying dividends with the big end of town.
Confidence in the solar sector, both household and utility-scale solar has never been an issue with ordinary Australians. A recent survey by The Climate Institute showed a phenomenal 84 percent of respondents listed solar power in their top three preferred energy mix. A May survey by the independent market researcher Ipsos showed 77 percent of people surveyed backed large-scale solar to play a key role in Australia’s future energy needs.
However this enthusiasm hasn’t always been matched by investors in the large scale solar industry, reacting to an increasingly shrill and dangerous rhetoric from former PM Abbott and his ministers, designed (it would appear) to squeeze confidence out of the industry.
How things change. A recent RenewEconomy article outlines the changing face of Australian solar with investment pouring in following the ousting of Mr Abbott.
According to the report, local and international players — long scared off by a lack of policy “certainty” — have begun to cast their eyes to our shores. The fact that this happens to have coincided with the change in leadership is really no coincidence at all. Relishing the comparatively more pro-renewables administration, investors have inundated tenders put out by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Ergon Energy and the Queensland government.
Undoubtedly the ripple of confidence in the solar sector has permeated through the entire industry, to a new-found confidence in investing in big solar. As the responses to tenders shows, investors are ready and willing as long as governments can provide encouragement and a form of “certainty” in the marketplace.
So, what do you think? Does this portend the changing face of the Australian solar industry? One where investment in large-scale solar projects matches the enthusiasm long shown by Australians for rooftop solar?