Solar Council rejects push to abolish SRES

Tuesday, 23 October, 2012

The Australian Solar Council has rejected a call by the Productivity Commission to abolish the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES).

The council claims that the Renewable Energy Target (RET) has been successful in helping Australian families to cut their power bills and take action on climate change. It notes that four million Australians now have solar panels or solar hot water on their roofs and this is delivering a powerful trifecta - slashing the wholesale cost of electricity, reducing energy demand and cutting carbon pollution.

According to the council, the SRES will be less than 1% of a residential power bill within two years. The council states that the upfront cost of solar panels and solar hot water is a barrier for many Australians, and this is why the SRES is so important.

The Solar Council claims that demand for solar PV has reduced significantly since the solar multiplier was reduced on 1 July and there are no signs that demand is picking up. The council is looking for clear direction from the Climate Change Authority - which is currently reviewing the RET - that the SRES is not under threat. This certainty is also being sought by Australia’s 4200 installers and the thousands of other people who work in the multibillion-dollar solar industry.

The council has called for the RET (the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target and the SRES) to be maintained and increased and extended over time. The council claims there is no justification for a reduction in the LRET, given the continued uncertainty over carbon pricing and the need to build a strong low-carbon economy.

The council further states that any reduction in the LRET would be inconsistent with the core objective of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 - to encourage additional generation of renewable energy. A reduction in the LRET would thus provide yet another barrier to the establishment of big solar plants in Australia and would limit the diversity of renewable sources in this country.

The council is actively engaged in the RET Review process and will be making its opinions clear to the Productivity Commission.

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