The Queensland Government should act to protect solar power consumers who could be negatively impacted by its decision to cut support to the state's solar power scheme, the Clean Energy Council said today.
Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh said allowing big electricity retailers to decide what they pay solar power users for their electricity would mean that many people would receive much less than the fair value of the clean energy they generate from the sun.
"The changes announced by the Queensland Government mean that individual solar power owners will need to negotiate one-on-one with electricity retailers to sell their solar energy back to the grid," Mr Marsh said.
"It is naive to think that individual customers will be able to directly negotiate a fair price for their solar electricity in a small and uncompetitive market.
"Solar electricity has a real value. Electricity retailers and all energy users get the benefit of the electricity that is generated by solar panels. The industry is calling on the government to legislate a fair rate that retailers are required to pay for solar electricity to ensure that those who have invested their money in good faith for their family's future are adequately protected."
The change will affect consumers who installed solar power after the Queensland Government closed its Solar Bonus Scheme that paid 44 cents for every kilowatt-hour of solar electricity. Estimates are that tens of thousands of existing customers will be affected.
Mr Marsh said other states and territories such as Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT had already introduced minimum rates for solar electricity to protect consumers.
"This is not something new or unusual and is already standard practice across most of the country," he said.
"New South Wales is one of the few states that has not introduced a minimum measure to protect solar consumers. Experience in this state has shown that retailers don't offer a fair rate when the payment is voluntary and unregulated.
"While the state government decided to rely on competition between electricity retailers to deliver a good deal for solar power owners, the decision has been a failure for consumers."
Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.