ACCC calls for abolishment of solar support

In its final report of its Retail Electricity Inquiry, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has recommended the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) be abolished by 2021.

Established in 2011, the SRES offers households and small businesses a financial incentive to install eligible small-scale renewable energy systems such as solar panels and solar water heaters.

Federal Parliament originally agreed in 2014 to abolish the SRES in 2030.

The Smart Energy Council has called on the Federal Government to immediately rule out axing the SRES.

“The one thing families and businesses can do to slash their power bill is to get solar,” Smart Energy Council chief executive John Grimes said.

“The Turnbull Government must immediately rule out making it harder for families and businesses to slash their power bills.

“It’s up to the Turnbull Government to come out today and reject this attack on solar.”

Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said rooftop solar is one of the few direct ways households and businesses are able to reduce their power bills.

“The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) provides modest support – which continues to reduce every year – which has encouraged the installation of rooftop solar power on almost two million homes,” Mr Thornton said.

“Something the ACCC has not considered is that the solar industry is regulated through an accreditation scheme that is linked to SRES through legislation.

“The accreditation scheme has been instrumental at maintaining high safety and quality standards during a decade of massive growth.

“Virtually every part of our power bill has gone up this decade, but technologies like solar power, solar hot water and energy efficiency are some of the few things that are actively making a difference in cutting the cost of power for people from all walks of life.”

Mr Thornton said some of the other recommendations by the ACCC definitely had potential, but any intervention in the market by government needs very careful consideration to ensure it does not damage investment confidence that is crucial to bringing on new power supply.