Plan to Charge Solar Homes Splits States, Disliked by Consumers
7 June 2021: Plan to Charge Solar Homes Splits States, Disliked by Consumers
A plan to charge homes and businesses with rooftop solar panels has received push back from state governments and now consumers, with a new poll showing 57 per cent of people disagreed with the proposal even if they don’t have solar panels themselves.
The proposal put forward by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) would allow homes and businesses with solar to be charged for putting their excess solar energy into the grid.
Both the Victorian and Queensland governments have signalled they don’t support the plan that would affect the hip pockets of millions of Australian households, but other state governments like New South Wales haven’t yet made their position clear.
“We’ve just commissioned polling in New South Wales that shows a staggering 59.2 per cent of people who want to install solar would be less likely to if this charge is allowed to go through,” said Ellen Roberts, National Director of Solar Citizens.
A representative sample of over 1,000 NSW residents were polled, 53.7 per cent of whom didn’t have solar.
Of those polled, 43.7 per cent said they’d be more likely to vote for a political party that opposes the plan to charge solar households, with 33.3 per cent saying their vote wouldn’t change.
“The New South Wales government is an influential state and they have a lot of power to make this ‘sun tax’ go away if they follow in the footsteps of Victoria and Queensland. It’s important that they make their position clear,” said Ms Roberts.
“Australia is a world leader in household solar and it’s these millions of Aussies that are doing the heavy lifting and substantially cutting Australia’s pollution.
“We want to see the small-scale solar industry continue to thrive because cheap solar energy is driving down electricity prices for everyone while powering a cleaner energy system.
“We fear once these charges are in place they’ll derail Australia’s uptake of clean solar energy.”
In a previous submission to the AEMC the Victorian government said, “The Victorian Government does not support export charging, as the case for implementing this element of the proposed reforms has not been demonstrated at this time.”
Queensland’s Energy Minister Mick de Brenni told the Brisbane Times, “My department is preparing a response to the proposal and I expect it will indicate that system-wide measures, especially investment in more storage, will encourage more solar and are preferable to the proposed rule change.”
The AEMC is expected to make an announcement of their decision in July.
Media contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694