We know Australian households are installing rooftop solar by the millions, but a new infographic released this week by the Clean Energy Council illustrates how many Australian businesses are now also investing in solar as a means to slash their power bills.
According to the CEC, more than 15,214 Australian businesses – ranging from dairy farmers through to wineries, supermarkets and offices – have now installed solar and, if the Renewable Energy Target (RET) is left as legislated, there is the potential for tens of thousands more to follow suit.
“Businesses have now invested almost $460 million in solar power systems across the country, helping them to collectively save about $64 million on their bills every year,” the CEC’s acting chief executive Kane Thornton said on Thursday.
“There is an increasing recognition that the current modest support provided by the RET means the business case for solar power makes sense, helping businesses become more competitive in tough economic conditions.”
But, like many others in and around the Australian renewables industry, Thornton warns that an cuts to the RET following the latest review of the policy would make it much harder for homes and businesses to go solar in the future, and put thousands of solar industry jobs at risk.
“Some of the recommendations outlined in the recently released review would either shut down these opportunities, or make it so administratively complex for businesses to go solar that they wouldn’t bother,” he said.
“This is a very effective policy which is working well and will begin to phase out naturally from 2017. The rest of the world is going full-speed ahead on solar and there is a huge opportunity here for Australian businesses if we leave the RET alone.
“As well as helping businesses to save on their bills, the RET is projected to deliver a further $15 billion of investment in large-scale renewable energy, as well as billions more in household technologies such as solar power and solar hot water.
“The renewable energy sector employs 21,000 people and 13,000 in solar alone, many of which live in regional areas of the country. If the RET is cut it would have a significant and immediate effect on the solar industry and lead to the loss of up to 5800 jobs in this part of the sector alone.”