News National Household solar investment cut

Household solar investment cut

The government has pulled the plug on investments in rooftop and small-scale solar.
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The Abbott Government has cut back on another source of renewable energy by pulling investment to home and small-scale solar power operations.

The move came soon after the Coalition put a stop to funding wind energy projects.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said they would just focus on large-scale solar and emerging technologies, which was in line with the original intention for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

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He lashed out at reports he was left out of the decision, denying it was made without his approval.

Meanwhile, the solar industry was left fuming by a letter to the CEFC by Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, in which they directed investments in household and small-scale solar to be “excluded” from the $10 billion fund in future, Fairfax Media reported.

Mr Hunt denies the decision was made without his approval.
Mr Hunt denies the decision was made without his approval. Photo: Getty

The draft investment mandate called for “mature and established clean energy technologies … to be excluded from the corporation’s activities, including extant wind technology and household and small-scale solar”.

About a third of all CEFC investments involve small-scale solar. The corporation, which has produced more than a $1 profit for the government for every $1 invested, was assessing $500 million in finance for solar projects valued at more than $1 billion.

Labor said the decision would stifle billions of dollars in investment and the creation of new jobs in the sector.

“(Prime Minister) Tony Abbott never looks forward, he is always looking backwards,” Opposition frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon told ABC on Sunday.

Labor Leader Bill Shorten said the government’s new guidelines suggested that the corporation could now only invest in flying saucers.

“Because anything which is any closer to development, Mr Abbott is conveniently saying it’s an established technology,” he told reporters on Sunday.

But Prime Minister Tony Abbott believed it will provide certainty for the sector.

“The plan was always to abolish the corporation entirely,” he said.

“But while it exists, we believe we should be investing in new and emerging technology – certainly not existing wind farms.”

There are 1.3 million rooftop solar systems in Australia and most households receive publicly-backed rebates to install, but the CEFC made a priority projects that helped people who do not own their own homes, those who lived in apartments and community groups to invest in solar panels, Fairfax Media reported.

The Greens branded the change a ‘vindictive form of industrial sabotage’.

The Clean Energy Council said having an overt directive against wind investment would affect the nation’s ability to attract jobs and investment.

with AAP

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