Last week Kristina Keneally certainly extinguished the ‘light on the hill’ for up to 2000 workers in the solar industry and for the many thousands of residents yet to connect solar panels. The Premier reduced the ‘feed-in tariff’ paid for solar power entering the grid from 60 cents to 20 cents” said Ged McCarthy Chairman of SEIA.
“SEIA accepts the 60 cent tariff was generous and believes a 45 cent gross feed-in tariff like the ACT (with 12 month review process), is a sensible option for all parties,” said Mr McCarthy.
“The scheme was very popular, so popular more than 50,000 households have had solar panels installed since the scheme began in January 2010. The people of NSW are clearly voting with their feet for clean energy from the sun,” said Mr McCarthy.
“Premier Keneally has refused to meet with SEIA. SEIA has met with a number of shadow ministers this week and essentially the future of NSW’s solar industry rests with Barry O’Farrell. We hope he responds like the working families of western Sydney have to date with great enthusiasm for clean solar energy,” said Mr McCarthy.
SEIA has been inundated with messages from their members, most paint a very gloomy picture.
Phillip Leslie is a solar installer in Campbelltown, he says,
“We have enough work until Christmas 2010 but beyond that without any positive change to the FIT (fed in tariff) we would have to reduce our workforce by at least five men.”
Another Sydney company told SEIA.
“Today I have let go two full time employees as the reduction in feed in tariff means we will have less enquires, we have recently advertised for more staff on our highly educated team of installers which will now be cancelled.”
Steve Doyle has a business on the Mid North Coast
“I have a salesperson, 3 x newly signed 1st year apprentices and recently employed tradesmen all of whom will certainly lose their jobs if the tariff is less than the going rate for energy. Some longer term employees positions will also be seriously under threat in the New Year if changes are not made.”
And this from the Far North Coast of NSW.
“Now I would just like to say that we have a month left, if the phones don’t start ringing soon we will need to close our doors next month. And since Christmas is on the way and in this industry December is not a great month for business I don’t think we will be here much longer. Merry Christmas.”
Contact: Ged McCarthy 0448 393 071 0408 21 02 73 (Justine Caines)