The final report of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) into electricity prices contains many valuable suggestions to reduce power bills but prematurely ending support for rooftop solar isn’t one of them, the Clean Energy Council said today.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said rooftop solar is one of the few direct ways that households and businesses are able to reduce their power bills.

“The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) provides modest support – which continues to reduce every year – which has encouraged the installation of rooftop solar power on almost two million homes,” Mr Thornton said.  

“Something the ACCC has not considered is that the solar industry is regulated through an accreditation scheme that is linked to SRES through legislation. The accreditation scheme has been instrumental at maintaining high safety and quality standards during a decade of massive growth.  
     
“Virtually every part of our power bill has gone up this decade, but technologies like solar power, solar hot water and energy efficiency are some of the few things that are actively making a difference in cutting the cost of power for people from all walks of life,” he said.  

Mr Thornton said some of the other recommendations by the ACCC definitely had potential, but any intervention in the market by government needs very careful consideration to ensure it does not damage investment confidence that is crucial to bringing on new power supply.

“The recommendation that the government support new development financing by guaranteeing offtake in the later years of new projects is technology neutral – and not designed to favour coal or gas as has been reported," Mr Thornton said.

"This provision could help to encourage PPAs between businesses and developers of new energy projects. But recommendations like this need to be considered carefully in the context of the market, and to ensure they do not end up being twisted to meet a narrow political agenda,” he said.

“The good news is that, as outlined in a report released by the Australian Industry Group last week new wind and solar projects built under the Renewable Energy Target (RET) are already starting to reduce wholesale power prices and this will accelerate in the years ahead as more come online.”

Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.