Clunkers scheme leaves solar industry in the shade

The Federal Government is taking a damaging short-term approach to climate change by cutting funding for solar industry grants in order to pay for the ‘cash for clunkers’ scheme,  according to Greens Fremantle candidate Kate Davis.

Kate Davis is pictured here with Lynn, Jeremy Ball from Solar Harness and car owner Kate Pearson, who says she would rather keep her 1991 Honda and get the $2000 worth of solar panels instead.

“Taking clunkers off the road at the expense of the solar industry is a bit of an own goal, environmentally speaking. Encouraging the take-up of domestic solar systems is crucial if the Government is serious about renewable energy targets,” Ms Davis said.

Prime Minister Gillard recently announced a scheme to pay car owners $2000 if they traded in old cars for more efficient ones. But the scheme is funded by cutting the budget for the solar industry grants.

“Solar businesses in Fremantle could be hit hard by this decision,” said Ms Davis

WA’s solar panel industry was dealt another blow earlier in the year when the state Liberal government announced a ‘net’ feed-in tariff for domestic renewable energy systems, which offers little financial advantage for most householders.

“The Greens have called for a gross national feed-in tariff, so families and businesses know exactly how much they will be paid for the energy they produce. In State Parliament the Greens have introduced a renewable energy Bill. These laws would really kickstart a clean economy and a strong renewables industry,” said Lynn MacLaren, MLC for the South Metropolitan Region.  

Solar industry supplier Jeremy Ball from Solar Harness says his industry is crucial in the fight against climate change.

“Dwindling fossil fuel reserves and the threat of nuclear power are worrying people. Harnessing the power of the sun can help eliminate these concerns and the Government should be encouraging more households in Australia to install solar panels,” said Mr Ball.

The Greens are calling for Infrastructure Australia to conduct a detailed planning process. 

“To make the transformation to renewable energy rapid and efficient, we need a plan: we need to assess our best renewable energy resources; we need streamlined consultation and approvals processes that bring communities together instead of dividing them; and we need jobs and infrastructure in the right place at the right time,” said Ms Davis

“We’re concerned that the latest ALP proposals are adhoc, uncoordinated and directionless,” added Ms Davis.

Media contact: Kate Davis - 0422 432 874 or Kirsty Lawson - 0428 207 007