Mal Barrat of Ballina-based company Greenup Australia.
Mal Barrat of Ballina-based company Greenup Australia.

Shock over solar scrap

NORTH Coast solar companies are reeling after the Federal Government scrapped a $320 million scheme to encourage people to install renewable energy hot water systems.

The scheme offered rebates of $1000 to install a solar hot water system or $600 to install a heat pump hot water system.

GreenUp Australia owner Mal Barrett said his Ballina-based solar power and energy saving company would lose business because of the decision

"We're disappointed and we're a little bit shocked that we didn't have any notice the scheme was to be scrapped," Mr Barrett said.

"I'm still absorbing it really. It will have large impact on our business because we supply quite a lot of solar systems across the Northern Rivers."

The scheme was scheduled to run until the end of June, but without warning the government declared at 5pm on Tuesday that anyone who had not yet paid a deposit would miss out.

The decision has shocked environmentalists, manufacturers and green energy companies who had hoped the scheme would be extended.

Mr Barrett said the government's "boom and bust" approach to renewable energy has to stop.

"It doesn't send a good message to the community about renewables and it creates more uncertainty on the back of the scrapping of the green loan scheme and the solar power rebates," Mr Barrett said.

Mr Barrett said Northern Rivers residents don't need to be sold on the value of solar power, but the rebate did mean a "significant" price reduction when the average cost of a solar system is between $4500 and $5500.

"Our concern is that consumers will be hesitant to purchase solar hot water or energy efficient systems because the cost is higher than electric systems which are inefficient and not as environmentally friendly."

"By installing a solar system people could save up to 80% of their hot water energy bills so it's significant to the householder's bottom line not to mention being good for the environment.



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