Australian Solar Council chief hits back at CCA review suggestion

9th Nov 2012

Tinkering with the size of the solar panel systems currently covered by the government's Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) would spell bad news for the renewable energy industry.

This is the message put forth by John Grimes of the Australian Solar Council, who asserted this week that the Climate Change Authority's (CCA) proposal to cut the size of the solar systems eligible under the scheme is "peculiar".

In the CCA's discussion paper on the government's renewable energy target, it asserted that it "is continuing to consider whether the threshold for a small-scale solar PV system should be reduced below its current 100 kW limit to for example 10 kW".

While the observation wasn't a detailed proposal or a specific recommendation set out by the CCA, John – writing for Climate Spectator on November 7 – says messing with the eligibility of various solar systems for funding has the Australian renewable energy industry "nervous".

At best, he explains, this recommendation presents "an uncertain solution to a non-existent problem".

Referring to the suggestion as a "half-way house" that would categorise small-scale commercial PV systems into the larger scheme, he pointed out that the intended effect would be to reduce the cost of the SRES. However, in actual fact, commercial solar endeavours – including the rooftop solar panels frequently installed on a small-scale basis on factories, shopping centres and office buildings – only make up an estimated three per cent of the solar industry.

Meanwhile, the Australian Solar Council – formerly the Australian Solar Energy Society – announced this week that it would establish a new Australian Solar Hall of Fame as part of its celebrations surrounding its 50th annual conference.

The Solar 2012 event is set to take place at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne on December 6 and 7.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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