Manufacturing News

Qld’s solar hot water scheme comes under fire

The Bligh Government’s election commitment to provide 200,000 Queensland households with affordable solar hot water systems defies the very industry it says it is trying to help, says Clean Energy Council (CEC) Chief Executive Matthew Warren.

According to Warren government bulk buying and deploying of technologies does not use the market to help drive solutions to climate change — it fights it.

“The total hot water replacement market in Queensland is at around 90,000 installations annually. This added to the Rudd Government’s phase out of electric water heating in existing houses from 2010 and its new $1600 rebate was already aggressively driving the market for solar water heaters in Queensland,” he said.

Warren said the policy wrongly assumes that governments have full information of the cost of systems and the optimal technology to deploy.

“It also wrongly assumes that companies working to develop and foster the growth of this important industry in Australia are making excessive profits and have the capacity to produce their product at little or no profit margin.

“Like any other industry, the solar hot water supply chain is complex and finely balanced. Bad government policy like this unnecessarily puts Australian jobs under threat at a time when we can least afford to lose any jobs, let alone green jobs,” Warren said.

“This policy also threatens to undermine the federal government policies on which it is established.

“The Commonwealth rebates were developed to encourage individual Australian households to switch to solar hot water when their systems needed replacement — it was not intended to underwrite a state based initiative which has no supporting funding from the jurisdiction in question,” Warren said.

“As Australia’s peak representative body for clean energy we are of course supportive of measures to reduce emissions by accelerating the deployment of more efficient hot water systems in more Australian homes — but this is not the right way of going about it,” he said.

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