Solar Prices post the 2013 Federal Election

We are often asked what the impact of the election will be on solar prices after September 7th.

The answer is not necessarily a simple one but in essence we believe there will be no short term impact due to government rebates (via the Renewable Energy Target – RET – and STC system) and therefore solar prices. The falling Australian Dollar is of much more immediate concern when looking at our solar costs.

However, the Coalition have announced that they will review the RET in 2014 (despite it being reviewed in 2012 with supposedly bi-partisan support). Although these reviews will, as per most political reviews, be independent, one of the outcomes already flagged (and therefore perhaps pre-determined) is the scaling back of the RET and in particular the STC’s, or perhaps even the abolition of this program.

Should this happen, there will clearly be a significant rise in the installed price of solar systems, however as this is unlikely to be implemented before 2015, the continuing drop in the cost of solar panels and inverters will probably negate any impact – at least compared to today’s prices.

Of greater concern is the Coalition’s flagged plan to provide $1,000 compensation to the first 10,000 solar systems sold each year;  which presumably – and based on past history – will occur before 1am on the morning of January 1st. Clearly this is an unworkable plan and one hopes that it is an electioneering statement rather than serious policy intent.

Having said that, we also look forward to the day when no government rebates are available on solar as the prospect of ‘free government money’ attracts some of the less scrupulous companies and people to the industry.

Australia needs to continue to grow its Renewable Energy for environmental reasons and continue to develop a strong industry for economic ones. The Renewable Energy industry (and its relatives such as energy efficiency, energy storage and so on) is potentially one of the most high-growth market opportunities we will see in our lifetime (as the IT and internet have recently been) and Australia must ensure it is a leader, not a follower.

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