Government slammed over grants withdrawal

14th Sep 2012

A new government-wide pause on grants has been slammed by solar industry insiders after it was revealed the Clean Technology Innovation Fund had been included.

The $1 billion scheme, which helps companies improve their energy efficiency through energy audits and renewable technology installations, was just one of the initiatives to be put on hold while the government assesses the effectiveness of such funding.

Naturally, solar power experts have blasted the decision. None more so than Nigel Morris from Solar Business Services, who has never been shy in giving his opinion.

It is barely a week since he berated Victoria and its energy minister for reducing the state's feed-in-tariff rebate scheme from 25 cents per kilowatt hour to just eight cents.

And it hasn't taken him long to wade in on this issue, describing Commercialisation Australia's recent admission that it had stopped writing new grants as "quite astounding".

"This type of knee-jerk, spontaneous reaction is just plain damaging to business and investment confidence," he stated.

"A number of commentators are making the same point it seems; business people understand that budgets have to be managed – and balanced – but timing is everything in business."

According to the expert, many solar installers have been taking advantage of the funding on offer to help businesses boost their energy efficiency, reduce emissions and lower power bills.

One installer, based in New South Wales, contacted Nigel directly and called the halting of the scheme "a real blow" to organisations that have invested in their operations to meet its requirements.

The anonymous insider claimed their business was already experiencing the impact of the funding pause, having been told by delivery agency AusIndustry that an application had been stopped.

"We thought the government might have finally stopped switching programs on and off like a switch – but apparently not," the source lamented.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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