Rooftop solar subsidies offered by the Federal Government – including upfront discounts off the total cost of systems – are at threat of being slashed or scrapped.
Uncertainty about the future of the solar power incentives currently offered under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) has been sparked by a scare campaign over its cost led by right-wing politicians and the Murdoch press.
Claims in a recent front page article published by The Australian that rooftop solar subsidies will cost $100 for each and every household this year show a fundamental misunderstanding of how the system works. However, accompanying comments from the Coalition’s backbench environment and energy committee chairman Craig Kelly describing SRES as a “reverse Robin Hood scheme” – “increasing the electricity prices on the poor to reduce electricity prices for the rich” – clearly indicates there’s strong opposition to the scheme within the government’s own ranks.
This of course follows fairly commonplace right-wing attacks on carbon pricing, renewables, battery storage and even vehicle emission standards, all also in favour of the fossil fuel industry.
The expected cost is in fact $40 per household for 2018, albeit up from an average of about $29 a year during the last five years of the SRES according to Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) statistics.
The take-up of incentives by rich households has long been overplayed, however there has been a surprising lack of effort at state and federal level in making rooftop solar more accessible for low-income households, tenants and apartment dwellers.
That is now being addressed by some governments, such as in Queensland, where no interest loans and rebates are seemingly still coming in 2018 although it remains unclear exactly. Information on the Queensland Government website currently remains quite vague after the removal of more specific figures and timeframes in January.
There are obvious benefits from having a large amount of rooftop solar in the grid, including reducing and deferring events of peak demand which in turn helps dampen wholesale electricity prices. Moreover, rooftop solar is more popular than it ever has been – including when there were extremely generous feed-in tariffs offered by state governments – with last year’s record-setting 1.057MW of installations already on track to be broken this year.
But it’s important to remember that while the scale of the Federal government support is already winding back – and currently set to phase out completely in 2030 – if opposition to the scheme gains momentum, there’s every chance of the incentives being cut or removed. We urge anyone considering installing solar to not take a gamble and have your rooftop system installed sooner rather than later.
Get an idea of what solar power size system is suitable for your home, check out our current specials and consider our interest-free finance option, then get in touch with us to discuss the best way forward for you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us today on (07) 5479 3355.