MP Says Solar Switch Could Pull Plug on Business

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The Byron Bay-based Greens MP, Ian Cohen, says he is bitterly disappointed by the State Government’s decision to slash the solar bonus.

From midnight the payment was cut from 60 cents to 20 cents for every kilowatt hour generated.

Mr Cohen says 30 cents would have been a fairer price.

He says the solar industry will be hit hard.

“Many of these smaller businesses won’t survive with the change to the tariff rate,” Mr Cohen said.

“So it’s going to have an impact across the board, I’ve also had importers who were looking at negotiating some significant deals and they’re saying we’re just going to have to move out of NSW,” he said.

The Opposition’s spokeswoman on the Environment says Coalition MPs felt they had little choice but to back the government’s plan.

The Lennox Head-based Liberal MLC Catherine Cusack says the solar-bonus scheme was running out of control.

Ms Cusack says those who had already signed up by the deadline will continue to be paid at the old tariff rate for another seven years.

But she says the overall costs could not be sustained.

“Each application that is approved is preferring at least $10,000 in subsidies to the household that takes up the offer, and so when you’ve got uncontrolled growth in the number of applications the costs of the scheme blow out,” Ms Cusack said.

“Ultimately those costs need to be paid for by other electricity users, there will be levies that are put on everyone’s bill next year,” she said.

A local environmental consultant says the Keneally Government has stepped back into the Stone Age with its solar-bonus decision.

Gordon Fraser-Quick is the Alumnus of the Year at the Southern Cross University.

He says yesterday’s announcement was short sighted.

“Over the next 27 years the price of energy in NSW, based on 10 years of previous price rises, will go from 24 cents per kilowatt hour today to 74 cents per kilowatt hour – that is without going down the renewable energy path,” Mr Fraser-Quick said.

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