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Solar businesses in Qld fear 'boom, bust' with tariff cuts
27/06/2012 - Queensland solar businesses fear a dramatic boom and bust after the state government slashed the solar feed-in tariff.
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More than 180,000 Queenslanders are in the solar bonus scheme.
Those who provide power back to the grid will keep the 44 cents per kilowatt hour payment from July 9, but anyone who joins after that date will get an eight cent rate.
Stuart Stratton of Green Initiatives says the future is now uncertain for his 100-plus employees.
He's "extremely disappointed" the government drastically changed the main drawcard for households.
"Where it drops over time and it's predictable, the market can shift and your business can plan for staffing levels and training," Stratton told reporters.
"When something like this happens out of the blue and you've got two weeks to adjust, it has potentially a massive downward impact on the business."
He imagines the next two weeks will be like "Christmas in July" - followed by silence.
Energy Minister Mark McArdle says Queensland households are subsidising the solar sector to the tune of $54 a year, and it's unsustainable.
The Clean Energy Council says 4500 jobs could go as a result of the move, but McArdle has told ABC Radio he hasn't been briefed on possible job losses.
The Australian Solar Energy Society's John Grimes says his group had called for a graduated withdrawal down to about 20 cents per kilowatt hour.
"It would have allowed solar to compete and wouldn't have resulted in, sort of, this mini boom and bust," he told ABC Radio.
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Kermit | 27/06/2012 10:41 1
Government incentive schemes are designed to kickstart new technologies...nothing more! Research tells us that all is not lost, you have not been betrayed with a lower buy back price as is related to lower equipment cost available now, and the early adopters will continue to get a leg up to cover the extra cost they incurred...that is the way the system works! Solar and other alternative energies will continue to be adopted and developed to the point where in 5-10 years alternative energy will be similar price to coal and gas fired power stations...it all takes time but demand will get us over the line. The price of Solar Panels has dropped by two thirds in 5 years.... Consumer demand and advances in the technology plus the government incentive have done this...that is what the incentives are designed for. With 25 years experience in the IT industry I appreciate the cost of using bleeding edge technology. Us early adopters are the people driving progress.... we are the visionaries who keep technology progressing, follow up consumers pay for production and commercialisation....Hang in there folks for an exciting ride!
ajayi abisoye | 27/06/2012 12:59 2
The cost reduction in energy tarrif is okay for consumers as long as the Government will continue to provide supports that will encourage power producers to continue to be in business.
Kermit | 27/06/2012 13:56 3
Adelaide shot to the top of the list, the HIGHEST electricity prices for any city in the WORLD! ONYA SA... always go for the biggest and best? With plenty Gas & Oil (Santos) and a "BIG" hole full of Uranium (BHP Billiton) - wonder where we went wrong on this one, someone dropped the ball? If the alternative energy marketing is done properly and the margins kept small we can generate energy efficiently to sell by stealth rather than waiting in a skeletal state for any incentives from the "pack of liars" (Labour Party) we have in Canberra. Tesla's power harnessing technology is raising it's head again in these times of need...in a few years electricity like communications will be FREE!... we have to experience some short term pain to capitalise on long term gain! We are the Smart Country, let's capitalise on it.....
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