Solar companies remain positive

IT was the hit the solar industry had been dreading.

The bigger players around the Coffs Coast, though, had been prepared for the NSW Government’s shift in generosity and say they will not go to the wall after the slash in the solar feed-in tariff from 60 cents per kilowatt hour to 20 cents.

The 66 per cent reduction in household returns means paying off a typical domestic solar panel configuration will now take three times as long as it would have previously.

“The industry has been on notice by the Clean Energy Council for well over

12 months now that the scheme could be rolled back at any minute,” said Peter Bulanyi, managing director of Solar Inverters, based at Urunga.

“Sixty cents was just too generous, installing solar panels became a no-brainer for anyone wanting to earn a return on their investment, but 20 cents has completely gone the opposite way.

“The whole State Government rebate scheme has been ill-conceived by an ignorant government

“This will affect businesses, companies that have not diversified and focused their business models solely on the rebate scheme could be sent to the wall.

“Fortunately our company has been in the market for 20 years and has taken those measures, but other ‘fly-by-nighters’ might not have.”

Some of the smaller players in the market will struggle to survive given the incentive to buy has been taken away from households.

Clean Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said the rollback was a repeat of the boom-bust cycle the solar industry had tried to avoid.

Premier Kristina Keneally says $2.5 billion must be cut by the time the scheme winds up in 2016 to reduce electricity price hikes for people who haven’t invested in solar power.

But the industry says the real reason is a lack of investment in the electricity grid by consecutive Labor governments.

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