Media Releases | 25th Jun, 2009

Brumby’s golden opportunity to save the solar industry

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Today’s Upper House vote on the solar feed-in tariff legislation has improved the Victorian Government’s flawed proposal, but it is not enough to secure a solar industry and new green jobs for Victorians, said the state’s peak environment group.

Environment Victoria’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said the Opposition, Greens and other parties were to be congratulated for improving the government’s weak solar feed-in tariff.

”While the amendments to the scheme are a good start and those involved in the improvements deserve a pat on the back, the Brumby Government’s weak proposal still falls short of the gross feed-in tariff needed to get solar panels on Victorian roofs and to create green jobs for the state,” she said.

But Ms O’Shanassy said it was not too late.

“There is still time for the Brumby Government to create more than 2000 jobs and boost solar power by amending the scheme to a gross feed-in tariff when it returns to the Lower House,” she said.

Environment Victoria, together with more than 40 community, environment and industry groups; churches; unions; businesses and local governments, have been campaigning for a gross feed-in tariff that pays those who install solar systems on their roof a premium price for all the energy they produce.

The gross feed-in tariff model has been adopted in more than 40 countries and has been proven as an effective incentive for solar power.

Environment Victoria is calling on the Brumby Government to lead on solar where Canberra has back peddled.

“The last three weeks has been a trying time for the solar industry in Australia, with Canberra either ending or delaying vital solar incentives.  Given the current economic climate, this is not the time to be pulling the rug out from under the solar industry and from solar jobs,” Ms O’Shanassy said.

“The Brumby Government’s modeling showed that a gross feed-in tariff would provide up $1.6 billion in investment and 2000 new green solar jobs in Victoria by 2015.

“What a great step this would be for Victorian jobs if Premier Brumby and Energy Minister Peter Batchelor were to save the solar industry and introduce a gross feed-in tariff.”

Improvements made to the legislation today by the Upper House increased the solar system size eligible under the scheme from 3.2 to 5 kilowatts, and allows community buildings and small businesses to participate in the scheme.

For further comments: Sacha Myers, media officer, on 0417 017 844.

Read The Age article, ‘Solar power scheme expands’.