Baillieu’s Solar Scheme Sparks Safety Fears

Lily D'Ambrosio | 

The Baillieu Government’s decision to abruptly end support for roof-top solar had created a massive rush to install systems sparking safety fears, the Shadow Minister for Energy, Lily D’Ambrosio, said today.

Ms D’Ambrosio today visited a Port Melbourne solar installer, Sun Empire Solar Systems, to discuss industry concerns about the Baillieu Government’s decision to scrap the premium solar feed-in tariff.

“The Baillieu Government dithered on solar for nine months – and then axed the premium tariff with only four-week’s notice to industry and consumers,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“This has left small businesses in the lurch and households confused about their eligibility for the premium tariff.

“The Clean Energy Council has forecast up to 1800 jobs will now go from Victoria.

“And today Sun Empire has raised concerns about industry fears of shonky operators exploiting public confusion and cutting corners to install systems to meet the deadline.

“These claims are alarming and raise serious questions for the Minister for Energy, Michael O’Brien, and the Premier, Mr Baillieu.”

The premium tariff was introduced by Labor to subsidise the installation costs of roof-top solar for households by mandating a price of 60 cent/kWh for net energy fed back into the grid.

The Baillieu Government has effectively reduced this price to 25 cents/kWh, meaning it could take up to 20 years for households to recover the cost of the investment in an average system – double the time it would take under the old price.

“This has created a panicked rush for households to get systems installed before the higher price ends on September 30, raising fears of ‘fly-by-night’ operators cutting corners and putting households at risk,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

Ms D’Ambrosio said the Department of Primary Industries told Sun Empire they would have three to four month’s notice of any changes to give companies time to transition to new arrangements and fully inform the public about tariff changes.

“Instead, it appears Mr O’Brien ignored the advice of his own department to provide sufficient notice of the scheme’s closure,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“In addition, small businesses like Sun Empire will be left with massive left over stock they can’t move when the deadline is reached at the end of the month.”

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