The federal government is under pressure to reach an agreement with the opposition about the future of the Renewable Energy Target scheme and provide industry, investors and consumers with policy certainty.

Jobs and investment have dried up in the solar industry since the Warburton review recommended a number of changes to the scheme, including:

 – amending the Renewable Energy Target
 – abolishing or phasing out the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme; an
 – closing the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target to new entrants.

In a joint statement released this week, Ministers Hunt and Macfarlane reaffirmed the government’s commitment to reaching an outcome, and put forward a position with several significant concessions.

The good news

There were some wins for the solar industry and consumers in the government’s latest statement, with small-scale solar now off the chopping block.

According to the Australian Solar Council, this means no change to the scheme’s deeming arrangements or to its 100kW threshold, which is a positive step for people still considering installing residential or commercial solar systems.

The government also said it would ‘remove the requirement for two-yearly reviews of the RET’ which will provide the industry with the policy certainty needed to encourage further growth and investment.

The bad news

While the government says it is committed to the original overall Renewable Energy Target of 45,000 gigawatt hours, it will change the way it is achieved.

According to the joint statement, the government plans to reduce the amount sourced from the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target scheme from 41,000 to 31,000 gigawatt hours. This number has today been revised, says Renew Economy, to 32,000 gigawatt hours.

The proposed reduction, even at 32,000 gigawatt hours, is a sticking point for the opposition who have outlined their demands.

What this means for industry and consumers

The government says its door is open to the opposition for further negotiation and both parties are keen to reach a resolution with input from the industry.

Labor is pushing for a resolution by Easter.

Until an agreement is reached, the future of renewable energy policy and the solar industry remains clouded.

Solgen Energy is assisting clients wanting to install commercial solar power systems to lock-in rebates under the current Renewable Energy Target scheme.

Contact Solgen Energy today on 1300 660 704 or email your request to sales@solgen.com.au.

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