A Senate inquiry will today hear evidence in Canberra from solar panel installers about the dramatic impact on the industry of the Rudd Government’s decision to means test the solar panel rebate scheme.
The Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts today begins its inquiry into the Save Our Solar (Solar Rebate Protection) Bill which seeks to overturn the Government’s decision to introduce a household means test of $100,000 on the solar rebate of up to $8000.
“Since the means test was imposed on Budget night most solar panel companies have reported losing at least two-thirds of their contracts,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“This decision has seen millions of dollars in business lost, with few new customers now signing up for solar panels resulting in companies cutting staff numbers and ultimately the environment losing out.
“The Government must acknowledge the significant problems they’ve created for the solar industry, and a number of installers will today take the opportunity to outline their own circumstances.”
Companies appearing today are among those to have lodged submissions detailing dramatic loss of business:
By placing a means test on the solar industry, not only has it slowed the industry, but has all but stopped people from wanting to install solar on their properties due to the lack of funding now available. The down turn is hurting everybody within this business.
                        Mid West Solar and Electrical, Cowra
The number of deposits taken has dropped from an average of 5 per week to 2 per week for our company. Solartec was installing 14kW of photovoltaic panels each week in the months leading up to the rebate changes…  In the prior 12 months the average installation per week was 10 kW of Photovoltaic Modules. Our average installation is now 2.8kW per week.
Solartec Renewables, Canberra
Also appearing before the inquiry today will be the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.
Today’s hearing starts at 9.00am at Parliament House, Room 2S1. Further details of the inquiry, including submissions, hearing dates and agendas, can be found at http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/eca_ctte/solar_rebate/index.htm.