Solar panel subsidies scrapped early
The Federal Government is phasing out its subsidies for solar panels six months early.
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet says the solar credits scheme will stop at the beginning of next year.
Mr Combet says there is strong demand for solar power and that scrapping the subsidies will ease pressure on power prices and place the industry on a sustainable footing.
He says the overall reduction in power bills is estimated to be up to $100 million next year.
Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt says winding the scheme up early is an admission by the Government that it was adding to the pressure on power prices.
“Well it’s clear that we’ve had a massive impact on power prices from phantom credits,” he said.
“It’s also clear that most of the damage has been done, so it’s shutting the gate after the horse has bolted again, though they haven’t even worked it through with the industry.
“Our understanding is that industry had 15 minutes’ notice of the announcement today.”
Since 2007, more than 880,000 rooftop solar systems and more than 560,000 solar and heat pump water heaters have been subsidised under the Government’s Renewable Energy Target.
Greens leader Christine Milne says the decision is particularly galling because the Government has simultaneously announced mines and landfills will not face higher costs for methane emissions until 2017.
“They’ve brought forward an end to support for solar while at the same time delaying the full cost of methane emissions,” she said.
“That tells you where Labor is coming from. They obviously think there are more votes in coal seam gas and mines and fugitive emissions than there are in actually supporting the new renewable energy technologies.”