Solar industry ‘will survive’

South Western Times

The State Government’s axing of the popular feed-in tariff scheme has not sounded the death knell of the South West solar panel industry, according to Solargain Bunbury branch manager Ian Lochore.

Mr Lochore said the industry would survive the Government’s decision to stop the program that paid residents for electricity produced by rooftop panels.

‘‘The feed-in tariff has gone and hey, that was probably a booming industry more than anything but it doesn’t mean that there’s not room for the customer who is looking to offset the price of power now and protect against increasing electricity prices,’’ Mr Lochore said.

‘‘What we found prior to the decision and what we’re finding now as well is there’s still a lot of demand and value for customers buying systems that offset the price of electricity.

‘‘So they’re not necessarily looking to feed electricity back into the grid.

‘‘What people were doing was taking advantage of a rich feed-in tariff scheme and they were over-sizing their systems, buying them larger than what was needed.’’

Clean Energy Council chief executive officer Matthew Warren said changes to the Federal Government’s solar incentives as well as the State Government’s feed-in tariff scheme contributed to a spike in applications and an industry boom.

He said without an alternative State scheme in place, jobs would be lost.

‘‘The solar industry continues to seek policy certainty so that it is not at the mercy of knee-jerk reactions,’’ Mr Warren said.

The Sustainable Energy Association of Australia believes the value and capability of the industry would be significantly eroded without some form of price support.

In a statement, the association said there were ‘‘significant regulatory and rule-based barriers’’ which needed reform to address many of the industry’s problems.

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