For a politician, slashing support to the solar industry through the Renewable Energy Target (RET) review is really dumb politics. In fact, it is so dumb it may result in one more job loss… their own.
Here are 13 reasons why targeting solar is dumb politics:
1. Voters Love Solar (and hate Power Companies) A February 2014 Essential Poll showed 64 per cent of Australians thought the Renewable Energy Target was either at the right level or should be higher. Only 13% thought it was too high. Coalition and Labor voters love solar equally.
2. Solar Saves Voters Money Australian Solar Council modelling shows average sized systems currently being installed cut power bills on average by 65%.
3. Solar Helps the Most Disadvantaged REC Agents Association postcode analysis shows lower income suburbs are most likely to install solar, and solar is strongest in the mortgage belts, and in rural and regional Australia.
4. Solar Homes are Not Freeloaders Distributed solar energy strengthens the grid and takes significant pressure off peak electricity demand. The massive private investment in PV delays or removes the need for expensive electricity system upgrades. Feed in tariffs paid to new customers for exported solar power are generally less than a third of the prevailing retail rate. But this exported solar power is sold by the power companies (often next door) at the full retail rate.
5. Massive Job Losses Count More than 18,500 people are directly employed in the solar industry. Slashing the RET would lead to 8,000 immediate solar job losses, with over 12,800 jobs to go by 2018 – 18,500 motivated employees who want to save their jobs and businesses, in the mortgage belts, and marginal seats, of our big cities and in rural and regional Australia…
6. Solar Unlocks Investment More than $20 billion has been invested in the RET so far (with an additional $14.5 billion to be invested by 2020) with two thirds coming from the private sector with no risk to the public sector. These projects only get paid if they produce. What’s more this is the fastest growing industry in the world.
7. The RET Lowers Electricity Prices Solar and other renewables put downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices because without having to pay for any input (the sun and wind are free) the marginal cost of their production at peak times is almost nothing. This leads to lower electricity prices for all customers, not just those with solar.
8. The RET Saves More Than It Costs Modelling by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows every electricity customer would be better off in 2020 by $44 (2%) per year and by 2030 by $142 (6%) if the RET were kept because if it is slashed there will be less renewable power capacity helping to push wholesale electricity prices down with their low‐running costs.
9. The RET Costs the Budget Nothing The RET costs the federal budget nothing – there are no budget savings in slashing the RET
10. The RET Protects Trade Exposed Industries Emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries are the big winners from the RET – as they receive the benefit of reduced wholesale electricity prices, but are substantially exempt from paying for it through certificates.
11. By Protecting Big Business, you stand against your Constituents and their families consumers clearly see that changes to the RET are designed to protect big business and vested interests. Consumers know that the government is not on their side on this issue. And the consumers vote, big power companies do not.
12. Solar Shifts Votes In the W.A. Senate election we clearly showed that solar shifts votes. We have now begun a national marginal seat campaign to mobilise the 5 million Australians who have solar PV or solar hot water on their rooftops, and the millions more who would be locked out of going solar if changes are made.
13. Solar is on the Right Side of History Global pressure to reduce emissions is mounting. Ultimately, every nation will be required to play its part. Solar is inevitable. Be on the right side of history, support solar, because ultimately a solar victory is assured. Today’s opposition is simply holding back the tide….