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Queensland Government slashes Solar Bonus Scheme

Despite promises by Campbell Newman during his campaign that the solar bonus scheme would not be cut, the Queensland State Government has now followed suit and become the last state in Australia to cut Solar PV feed in tariffs to the point where they may as well not even exist.

From July, the net feed-in tariff will be cut from a 44c/kWh to just 8c/kWh. This political backflip is bad news for the solar industry, but at least existing Scheme customers will continue to receive the 44 cents tariff (provided they maintain their eligibility for the scheme).

Customers who wish to access the 44 cent rate will need to lodge a network connection application before midnight on 9 July 2012 in order to be considered for the existing 44 cent tariff. This provides a notice period of 10 business days for people who have already purchased their PV system on the basis of the 44 cent tariff, but have not yet applied for the scheme. Customers in QLD, should visit the Department of Energy and Water Supply website (No longer available) or call the Queensland Government Customer Service Centre on 13 43 87.

The Queensland Greens believe the decision will create “uncertainty and service delivery problems for small businesses installing solar panels” and The CEC estimates that 4,500 jobs could go in Queensland. What happens now in the Queensland market will be interesting to see – in the last year Queensland accounted for nearly half the rooftop PV installations in Australia.

In stark contrast to this decision, the state government has subsidised coal and coal seam gas to the tune of almost $7 billion in in the past five years. In the same period, only $900 million was spent on renewable energy and energy efficient industries.

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