Solar project rethink follows change in political climate

US solar panel manufacturer First Solar says it is having a rethink about future investments in Australia because of the Government’s approach to the Renewable Energy Target.

The ABC reports that the Renewable Energy Target is currently under review by a panel appointed by the federal government and, as a result, First Solar is reconsidering its commitment to Australia.

The company is building a $450 million plant for AGL Energy in far western NSW which will have the capacity to power 50,000 homes.

"Those projects … reached financial close in a different political and business environment which was almost a year ago now," First Solar's vice-president of business development, Jack Curtis told the ABC.

"That's obviously changed quite dramatically since the election. There's now a much greater deal of uncertainty around future projects like this."

The Renewable Energy Target commits Australia to have 20 per cent of Australia's electricity generated by clean energy sources by 2020. However, the review of the target has caused uncertainty.

"We really need to look at what does the next five years look like from a broader policy backdrop perspective and what comes after these projects and whether the investment should continue to be made," Curtis said.

Meanwhile, according to Sky News, a report by the UN Environment Program says that global investment in renewable energy has decreased by 14 per cent.

Investments in renewables (excluding hydroelectricity) went down to $US214.4 billion ($A231.60 billion) in 2013. This was a decrease of $US35.1 billion from the previous year and 23 per cent below the record set in 2011.