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Federal and State retreat on solar a disaster for energy policy

Budget cuts by the Federal and Western Australian governments have set the solar industry back years, Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam warned today.

"First the Federal Climate Change Minister announced the Solar Credits scheme would be phased out a year early, then $370 million was cut from the Solar Flagships program, with only two out of 52 proposed projects to receive funding under the program's first round, and then the National Solar Schools Program was cut short by two years and its funding reduced by $156 million," Senator Ludlam said.

"And this week, the WA Government slashed the State feed-in tariff for solar - the rate they pay new households who feed solar power into the grid - from 47 cents per kilowatt hour to 27 cents, less than a year after the scheme's introduction."

"After cutting the incentive for people to invest in solar for their homes, the WA Government capped the scheme so it will end once the capacity installed in WA reaches 150 megawatts. This low cap risks undermining the point of the feed-in tariff, which is to help a new energy supply system overcome barriers to market entry."

"It looks like the WA Government is determined to keep this industry down," said Senator Ludlam.

Greens WA energy spokesperson Robin Chapple MLC said "while more and more West Australians have been putting their money where their mouths are by investing in solar photovoltaics for their homes, the State and Federal Government have just pulled the rug out from under them".

"The latest Budget cuts are similar to the demolition job unleashed by the NSW government, and demonstrate why we urgently need a nationally coordinated approach which give householders and the industry long-term security about investing in renewable energy," said Senator Ludlam.

Media Contact: Giovanni Torre - 0417 174 302



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