Almost 34,000 households and businesses across the northern rivers are facing a reduction in their solar rebates.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal has released an issues paper on solar feed-in tariffs which flags a reduction in the benchmark price paid to households generating solar electricity.
The proposed reduction would see payments drop from 11 cents per kilowatt hour in 2017/18 to 8 cents in 2018/19.
NSW Greens energy spokesman Jeremy Buckingham has called on the NSW Government to change the criteria to assess solar feed-in tariffs to recognise the multitude of benefits solar energy brings and encourage more households and business to install renewable energy.
‘This proposed reduction in the benchmark price paid for households generating solar electricity from 11 cents per kilowatt hour in 2017/18 to 8 cents in 2018/19 is a direct result of the NSW Governments failure to instruct IPART to assess the true value of solar power,’ Mr Buckingham said.
‘If the National Party are serious about supporting renewable energy then they should be saying wrong way, go back to IPART.
‘NSW should be ensuring that electricity retailers pay a fair price for the solar electricity that is fed into the grid from roof top systems, which takes into account the avoided health and carbon costs solar brings by reducing the amount of fossil fuels that are burnt.
‘Unless the NSW Government steps in then this decision will be a huge hit to the electricity bills of over 33,144 solar households and businesses that have installed solar panels in the Northern Rivers and will act as a disincentive to further uptake of solar panels.
‘Solar power is working to even out demand peaks and reduce electricity prices. Households and businesses should be rewarded for this service, not penalised for the benefit of big coal.
Ballina MP Tamara Smith said the Greens recognise that solar power leads to cleaner air, reduced carbon emissions and cheaper electricity.
‘The uptake of solar power should be encouraged and that is why the Greens have introduced a Bill into the NSW Parliament to ensure a minimum, fair price for solar,’ Ms Smith said.
She has introduced the Electricity Supply Amendment (Fair Price for Solar) Bill 2018 into parliament on behalf of the Greens.
The Bill will replicate the Victorian criteria for establishing a mandatory minimum price which includes valuing the avoided health and carbon costs solar brings by reducing the amount of fossil fuels that are burnt, and by recognising the reduced spend of infrastructure.