South Australian solar panel installers will today tell of the damage caused to their business by the Rudd Government’s means test on solar panel rebates, Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
Today’s Senate committee inquiry hearing follows those in Melbourne and also Canberra, where Environment Department officials responsible for the rebate program’s administration were an eleventh hour ‘no show’ on the orders of Minister Peter Garrett.
“Today’s hearing in Adelaide is another important opportunity giving voice to contractors, suppliers and others adversely affected by the government’s ill considered $100,000 household means test on the rebate of up to $8000,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“This means test has been a double whammy for the environment and the economy, with a loss of carbon reduction and also jobs as a result of millions of dollars in solar business drying up.”
Companies appearing today are among those to have lodged submissions detailing dramatic loss of business:
Initially when the means test was announced we had around 15 cancellations of appointments and had 10 signed customers whose paperwork was not done, withdraw … We have put off one electrician and one salesman … Sales are down around 25% in numbers 40% in value … Since the decision we have not sold one system to a client with an income over $100k
Adelaide Hills Solar and Solar Depot
Within 48 hours I witnessed an immediate loss of 12 sales. This could represent about 2 months work for a typical small solar business.
Also appearing, after making a submission through the Australian Conservation Foundation, is the Adelaide Buyers Group for Solar Systems, an informal buying group established to help more people purchase systems at competitive prices:
I received some very strong feedback from the buying group members after the means test was introduced. Many of the group members had combined household incomes over $100,000, and whilst they were very keen to order solar PV systems and be part of a “climate change solution”, the loss of the $8,000 rebate made it financially impossible for them to proceed.
Andrew Dickson, Adelaide Buyers Group
Today’s hearing starts at 9.15am at the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel, 125 North Terrace, Adelaide. 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.