The developer of the 35MW Brigalow solar farm has told the Queensland Supreme Court that the costs of the project will blow out significantly because of the government-led changes to installation regulations.
Impact Investment Group, which owns the Brigalow solar farm through Maryborough Solar, says in an affidavit tendered to the court that the new rules introduced by the Queensland Labor government requiring only licensed electricians to mount and fix solar panels would add $2.6 million to its costs.
Impact, with the support of the Clean Energy Council, and the Master Electricians Australia, took the state to court, as we reported last week, and the hearing occurred on Wednesday. RenewEconomy will update the story when a decision is handed down.
According to media reports, the developers of Brigalow put the increased costs of $2,626,000 “as a consequence of the amendment regulation.” That number was confirmed by company sources. Some installers of large rooftop systems say that project costs will blow out significantly because of the rule change.
Lane Crockett – a director of Maryrorough Solar, and head of renewable infrastructure at IIG – said in the reported affidavit that the project’s fixed contract price, and its development timeline, had not factored in the sudden need for around 60 licensed electricians to be employed.
The CEC has also voiced its support for the legal action, while also expressing regret that any such action needed to be taken in the first place.
“The Brigalow Solar Farm feels obliged to challenge the regulation through the courts because the industry has been unable to resolve the matter in discussions with the government since the regulation was announced in April,” said CEC director of energy generation, Anna Freeman.
“In our view, this regulation will increase the costs of projects, reduce employment opportunities for local communities, and lead to a downturn in clean energy investment in Queensland, without delivering any safety benefit.”