In a swift and sudden backroom move today Kristina Keneally’s dying government has forced the NSW solar industry back into the dark ages, making the NSW feed-in tariff the lowest in Australia (actually less than the rate paid for coal generated electricity).
This surprise closure of the current rebate programme (which was heralded as a landmark commitment to renewable energy and a cleaner, greener future for NSW under Premier Rees) will create mass unemployment just as Rudd’s cancellation of the insulation scheme did. The NSW Government, in an incredible back flip, just 10 months after the introduction of the scheme are now demonstrating a clear commitment to fossil fuel companies who are obviously piling on the pressure.
President of SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association Inc.) and Chairman of the NSW Chapter, Ged McCarthy says:
“There is no doubt that the solar industry as a whole needs some review as the new feed-in tariffs have opened up the market and all sorts of untrained and inexperienced sole traders and companies are installing inferior systems in order to cash in on the scheme. However, SEIA has been working closely with State & Federal Governments Departments on safety and licensing regulations, and SEIA and AuSES (Australian Solar Energy Society Inc) are currently working hand in hand to create and administer a Best Practise Installation Program.
“Whatever the issues may be, there is no excuse for cancelling the current scheme without industry consultation, with no notice, thereby creating an immediate crisis in the NSW solar industry. Thousands of people will lose their jobs overnight, which is an extraordinary about-face for someone recently espousing the importance of worker’s rights.”
“Australia could and should lead the world in solar technology, uptake, installations and usage (we have more hours of sunlight per day than anywhere else on earth) but lags far behind Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Spain, France, Italy and Greece. All of whom have made real commitments to cutting carbon emissions with strong feed-in tariff programmes encouraging solar uptake and meeting renewable energy targets.”
We can’t go backwards on this. It has taken us too long to come up to par with the rest of the world, to back out now is not just fatal for the industry but for the future of renewables.”
“When the Australian electorate has clearly voted for a greener future, and with Ms Keneally looking down the barrel of a landslide loss in March, it is inconceivable that she should act so decisively to destroy the NSW solar industry and the very real hopes of residents of NSW for a future free of coal generated power bills.”
Ged McCarthy is a licensed builder, electrician and has been a solar installer for almost 15 years. He is widely respected in the Australian industry and is the elected Chairman of SEIA www.seia.org.au
Contact: Ged Mc Carthy 0448 393 071 02 6587 4383 (Sophie Love)