The Solar Bonus Scheme, which currently offers a feed-in tariff rate of 44 cents per kilowatt hour (p/kWh) of electricity fed back into the grid, will be reduced to 8 cents p/kWh from midnight on 9 July. This reduced rate will be reviewed in 2013, with the plan intended to conclude in July 2014.
Kane Thornton, acting Chief Executive of the Clean Energy Council has said that this withdrawal of funding could lead to the loss of more than 4,500 solar jobs in the next 12 months. Mr Thornton also said that this kind of sudden drop could have negative impacts on an industry that has been delivering major economic benefits to the State.
Offering a different perspective, Chief Advisor of the Sustainable Energy Association, Professor Ray Wills said “The reduction of a solar feed in tariff in Queensland announced by Premier Campbell Newman is a rational, timetabled change to the feed in tariff structure”
“The Premier has offered forward notice to the industry and customers, allowing forward planning and a 12 month installation timeframe for installations, and provides solar businesses the opportunity to make structural adjustments in an evolving market,” continued Professor Wills.Article continues below…
Solar Hot Water Rebate discontinued
The Queensland Solar Hot Water Rebate program ended to new customers on 22 June as part of the Newman Government’s election commitment to fix the state’s finances, said Queensland Minister for Energy and Water Supply, Mark McArdle.
Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Solar Energy Society, John Grimes, has expressed disappointment at the cessation of this program. Mr Grimes stated that by withdrawing funding, the Queensland State Government sends the wrong signal to the community about the importance of using solar energy to heat water. “Solar is the smartest way to heat water. Not only is it an energy efficiency measure that reduces the cost to families to heat their water, using solar hot water takes demand off the grid. Heating water accounts for 21 per cent of the average household electricity bill,” said Mr Grimes.