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Solar policy delay prevents growth

5th Aug 2011

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal review into the Solar Bonus Scheme has set an April 2012 deadline for completion.

With this delay now official, it means that the solar policy review won't be finished until one full year after it was first announced.

New South Wales government intends to hold off solar policy development until the report is finished, meaning that the industry will be left in limbo until next year.

Australia's peak solar bodies have lashed out at the delay saying that a lack of interim policy leaves consumers and the solar sector in a difficult position.

The Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES) and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) have released a joint statement on the matter, asking for the government to provide stability to the state's solar industry.

AuSES chief executive John Grimes says that until a policy is introduced, hundreds of jobs will be lost and consumers will not experience the maximum benefits of introducing solar power systems into the home.

Grimes says: "The solar industry again calls on the NSW government to act now to set a fair price for solar, ensuring families get paid the same amount for the clean energy they produce as they have to pay for polluting power from the electricity grid. That’s only fair."

Despite two solar summits, the government remains indecisive about policy that has the potential to transform NSW's renewable energy sector.

AuSES and SEIA have highlighted the pressing need for stability as solar panel rebate and feed-in tariff rates need to be set in order to ease consumer uncertainty.

Earlier this year the organisations released their proposal for a tariff scheme, complete with recommendations focusing on rate arrangements.

They believe that the tariff should come at no cost to the Government and not cause a rise in electricity price - what they call a 1:1 fair price on solar.

Once policy is made, a rush for solar power systems is expected, though Grimes doubts that the industry will be able to meet demand as it sheds workers in the immediate future.

Some households may miss out due to increased popularity and the reduced capabilities of the solar industry as the lack policy prevents it from growing between now and April.

Consumers may wish to take action now and install systems prior to the announcement next year.

AuSES and SEIA both plan to lobby NSW MPs in order to speed up the process.

By: Bob Dawson - News Editor

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