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New Queensland solar regulation faces legal action

The Clean Energy Council supports legal action lodged by the Brigalow Solar Farm challenging a new rule introduced by the Queensland Government affecting large solar projects.

The action was filed with the Supreme Court on 17 May and is expected to be heard in coming weeks.

Anna Freeman, the Clean Energy Council’s Director of Energy Generation, said the industry was deeply disappointed that there was a need to pursue legal action in regards to the new regulation.

“We believe that the new regulation is inconsistent with the Queensland Electrical Safety Act, as it affects activities that are not classified as electrical work under that legislation,” she said.

“The Brigalow Solar Farm feels obliged to challenge the regulation through the courts because the industry has been unable to resolve the matter in discussions with the government since the regulation was announced in April.”

The Queensland regulation in question is the Electrical Safety (Solar Farms) Amendment Regulation 2019 (Qld), which came into force on Monday 13 May.

Under the changes, only licensed electricians are permitted to locate, mount, fix or remove solar panels on projects larger than 100 kW.

“In our view, this regulation will increase the costs of projects, reduce employment opportunities for local communities, and lead to a downturn in clean energy investment in Queensland, without delivering any safety benefit,” Ms Freeman said.

In parallel with the legal action, the CEC will continue to pursue and encourage opportunities for dialogue with the Queensland Government and other stakeholders, to seek swift resolution of this dispute.

Media contact: Mark Bretherton, Clean Energy Council Director – Media on 0413 556 981.