The Minister for Climate Change Greg Combet today inflicted another blow to the Solar Industry when it brought forward the cancellation of the solar credits multiplier, a scheme which provided an up front rebate to assist households with the purchase of solar.
The multiplier change, from a 2x multiplier for STC’s on the first 1.5 kw of a solar power system to a 1 x multiplier effectively increases the up front cost of a solar power system by approximately $900.
The multiplier was originally scheduled to be cut back as at 1 July 2013 but has been brought forward because the falling price of solar has meant this level of support was no longer necessary to encourage people to go solar.
Effectively the government’s view is that solar is an outstanding investment anyway and so the two times multiplier was no longer necessary.
No effect on clients with an existing contract waiting for installation
The change comes into effect for systems installed after 31 December 2012 but for customers that have a contract with us prior to today (16 November 2012) your STC multiplier stays the same even if your job is not installed until after 31 December 2012.
What about those that have not signed up yet
The losers out of this change are those folks that waited off signing up because the government had said the 2x multiplier would be available until 30 June 2013. For these people we have decided that we will launch a special deal that will run for sign ups until 31 December 2012. We have decided to call it our Greg’s a Wanker Special
Our Rebate Rollback special means that for customers that sign up for a solar power system in South Australia before 31 December 2012 we will continue to sell systems at the same price as we were selling them before today when the 2 x multiplier was available.
If you click on our pricing page you will see that our advertised prices have not changed since before this announcement. This gives people another 5 or so weeks to sign up and not be effected by the change.
The reason we are unhappy about the governments decision to cut out the rebate multiplier early is that the government constantly messes around with the policy framework that the solar industry has to operate in. This is the second time that they have changed the timing of changes since the Solar Credits Scheme was announced only a couple of years ago. These sudden changes in policy, announced without warning creates a roller coaster ride of uncertainty for the industry threatening jobs and making planning impossible. The second thing I don’t like about this is that this decision is about politics more than policy and Mr Combet is using the solar industry as the scapegoat for high electricity prices. This is bad form when only about 2% of the costs of retail power are attributed to paying solar subsidies and feed in tariffs. So with a retail power price around 34 cents only about.7 cents per kwh is attributable to solar. Given power has gone up over 20% in the last year, and almost as much again the previous year the government should be honest and say that high power prices are because they have stuffed up privatisation and have allowed under investment in a ageing grid over the last 20 years, not because of solar power.