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The election that could cast a deep shadow on solar power

6th Sep 2013

Tomorrow, Australians will head to the polls to elect a new Prime Minister.

While everyone will have their own reasons for voting however which way, for many, the threat of a collapsing solar rebate system will be among the top priorities.

This can be traced back to the lingering effects of the Western Australia government's decision to cut solar rebate tariffs in half, which rocked the state and left an indelible mark on the trust constituents have in their representatives.

Although the government recanted its decision - it quickly became clear what a political faux pas it was - it still sheds light on the true conservative agenda.

Simply put, the government doesn't give two shits about building a greener Australia or helping out those who have taken it upon themselves to lower grid strain and overall electricity bills.

Not when influential utilities and energy companies stand to lose profits through solar feed-in tariffs, anyways.

So let's take a George Orwell-esque approach to the problem and imagine a dystopian scenario in which anti-solar leaders are at the helm, as outlined in Renew Economy.

Solar under Tony Abbott

The Liberal National Party is clearly not a friend of solar.

This was made evident by the LNP-led WA government's decision to disregard contractual - and, to some extent, moral - obligations to solar power installers. Now, the LNP is sending its Tony Abbott to try to usurp the throne.

This is the same party that has openly expressed approval for the removal of a renewable energy target. The same party that sees no future in large scale solar, despite the countless examples of its ability to lower electricity costs, create jobs and build a reputation of sustainability.

The arguments are the same.

"We've got to protect the big players in the industry," they say.

But this isn't 1980. Ronald Reagan fever is not sweeping the world, and the trickle down effect has been debunked again and again.

The WA debacle was a clear sign that people want solar, even if that means the Davids of the solar industry must use their slings against the Goliaths.

Although the election means choosing the lesser of the evils, it will be important for voters to remember the Western Australian decision as they head to the polls on Saturday.

The fate of Australian solar may depend on it.

Posted by Bob Dawson

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