Peter Garrett continues to be in denial as the only person in Australia who still thinks imposing a means test on the solar panel rebate scheme will somehow help to combat climate change.
Today’s report by the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts confirms the negative impact the means test is having on solar businesses and customers.
The Senate inquiry did not hear from a single solar supplier who thought that the means test was good for the solar industry, was good for householders, or was good public policy.
“Peter Garrett complained that the solar rebate program was “over-heating,” Shadow Climate Change Minister, Greg Hunt said. “But the Minister’s ill-conceived means test has led to a climate of confusion, uncertainty and job losses.
“The report reveals that the solar industry is now facing a crisis of confidence about the future of the solar rebate program.
“There are grave fears that the solar rebate scheme will soon end. It could run out of funds in the coming weeks, leaving thousands of home owners without the $8,000 rebate solar incentive.
“Mr Garrett must put an end to the confusion and uncertainty for the solar industry and solar consumers and guarantee the future of the Coalition’s solar panel rebate program.”
Deputy Chair of the Senate Environment Committee Simon Birmingham said the inquiry heard that demand for solar panels had recently been inflated by:
o   The entry of bulk suppliers offering smaller, low-cost solar panels
o   The Queensland Government suddenly announcing a discount scheme for 1000 units
o   People making decisions based on their income at the end of the tax year at June 30
o   Publicity generated by the outcry at the imposition of the means test.
“While some of the bulk, low cost solar companies have not been adversely impacted by the means test, our inquiry heard from many solar companies which had lost enormous volumes of business and who had laid off staff,” Senator Birmingham said.
“One of the striking points to come from the inquiry was that the means test resulted in consumers buying smaller solar units. For each $8,000 rebate, we are now getting on average units that produce 20 per cent less energy that save less greenhouse emissions. How is that better for the environment?
“This is a perverse outcome that highlights the problems with Mr Garrett’s ill-conceived means test.”