Queensland government accused of ‘discriminating’ against solar consumers

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

An Australian advocacy group has accused Queensland’s premier, Campbell Newman, and energy minister, Mark McArdle, of unfairly charging new penalties on solar homes

In a letter to the ministers, Solar Citizens, set up only last month, is asking the state government to address a number of critical questions on allegedly misleading statements made by the politicians on the impact of solar on energy costs in Queensland.

According to local press reports cited by Solar Citizens, the state government is poised to implement recommendations made earlier in the year by the Queensland Competition Authority that solar owners be put on a higher service fee tariff because they use less power. The government commissioned the QCA to look at the state feed-in tariff following concerns over its rising costs.

But Solar Citizens maintains that the QCA's recommendations are “flawed” and that by adopting them, the state government would be running against its own policies.

In its letter the group said the Queensland Competition Authority's recommendations of a solar penalty were “deliberately discriminating” against families and small businesses, penalising them for having invested in rooftop solar. 

“As the government prepares to increase the cost of electricity for Queenslanders, they are ignoring the true solution for cheaper bills – solar and renewable energies, as well as cutting energy usage. These are cost effective measures that allow people to take control of their bills and of their energy use,” Geoff Evans, campaign manager for Solar Citizens, said.

And Evans said that implementing this increase would be inconsistent with McArdle’s own policies.

“In December of just last year, Mr McArdle said that there would be no fixed charge of any sort on people using solar,” he said. “However, now it appears that the minister is going back on his word, preparing to advise Cabinet to put a tariff on solar users only. This is nothing short of discrimination against families who have moved to solar to reduce their costs.

“There are over 300,000 solar users in Queensland, who have invested over A$2.2 billion of their own money into reducing their electricity costs and doing their part to help our environment. It appears that the government is looking to penalise them for trying to take energy production back into their own hands. And, they are justifying doing so on the basis of spurious arguments.”

Solar Citizens has highlighted other states in the country where the uptake of solar is being impeded by utilities.

In Victoria, prospective solar owners have been facing a hard time connecting to the grid. In some areas network operators have simply been refusing to connect up new solar systems.

In New South Wales anyone who invests in solar has to negotiate with their retailers to get a price for the power that retailer then sells to their neighbours.

“The situations in Victoria and Queensland highlight the trend we are seeing across the country,” said Evans. “We will soon be working on campaigns with solar owners in every state to make sure all Australian solar owners are ensured a fair go.

“Network operators and energy retailers don’t want to see Australians take back control of the grid. They are making it harder for Aussies to go solar in order to protect their profits.”

Solar Citizens has given the politicians until 19 June to respond as it activates its growing membership on this issue.
 

23 February 2022
Held annually since 2016, the Energy Storage Summit Europe is the place to be for senior stakeholders in the European storage industry. Designed to accelerate deployment of storage, we examine evolving chemistries, business models, project design, revenue stacks and use cases for storage. The 2022 edition will include exclusive content around longer duration solutions, energy strategies for wide-scale deployment of EVs and "EnTech", the event which sits at the intersection of digitisation, decentralisation and decarbonation of the power system. Come to meet TSOs, DSOs, Utilities, Developers, Investors and Lenders and leave with new contacts, partners and a wealth of information.
7 March 2022
Take your chance to join the most powerful platform in the MENA region. Middle East Energy (MEE), Intersolar, and ees, the leading energy exhibitions are joining hands to co-deliver an outstanding renewables and energy storage event at Middle East Energy 2021. Renewables and energy storage at MEE is the largest gathering of solar and renewable energy industry professionals in the Middle East & Africa, offering the most effective trade focused platform to international manufacturers and distributors looking to meet regional buyers.
8 March 2022
As Solar Finance & Investment enters its ninth year, we sit on the cusp of a new power market with solar at its heart. The 2022 edition of the event will build on our years of expertise and relationships to bring investors and lenders together with top developers. Connect with leaders in the field and use exclusive insights to drive investment and development decisions for the future. Meet new and existing project partners at the largest gathering of European solar investors and lenders.
23 March 2022
When it comes to storage, the US market exceeded a gigawatt of advanced energy storage installations (weighted towards lithium ion) at 1.46 GW, more than the previous six years in total! An exponential growth rate could see the market hit 7.5 GW p.a. by 2025. The summit will provide a wealth of content around this vital piece in the US power puzzle, with sessions dedicated to explore how companies are making money from batteries, the latest chemistries and their applications as they apply to different use-cases. We ask how investors can match ESG criteria to batteries and we will bring case studies of successful deployment and project execution onto the stage to examine how you can ensure your own projects are successful.
29 March 2022
Now in its 10th sell-out year, Large Scale Solar returns to Lisbon in 2022. We are excited to gather together face-to-face with the European solar industry as we provide unique and exclusive access to a powerful selection of the market's key stakeholders. Join this elite summit to find out how the market is maturing, which new markets are becoming more exciting, how technology is evolving and who's driving the market forward into the 2020s. Always senior, packed with developers, EPCs, utilities and investors this is the event for companies serious about European solar PV.
7 April 2022
Solarex Istanbul, Turkey’s first and unique exhibition on solar energy, provides a huge opportunity to Turkey on the way to being a solar energy hub. Solarex Istanbul will take place on 7-9 April 2022 for the 14th time. It will be a commercial platform to have the latest technologies and combination of new products from all around the world. It takes place annually at Istanbul Expo Center, Turkey. It is also called the most important platform for manufacturers, suppliers and dealers of the solar industry in Eurasia.

Read Next

January 27, 2022
Italian asset manager Green Arrow Capital (GAC) has signed a framework agreement with Spanish solar company Progressum Energy Developments (PED) to acquire 508MW of ready-to-build solar PV projects in Spain in a deal worth over €400 million (US$446 million).
January 27, 2022
Tesla’s solar installations jumped 68% in 2021 to 345MW despite a slight dip in additions year-on-year during the fourth quarter.
January 27, 2022
Major European solar developers have called on the European Union (EU) to develop a PV supply chain strategy to avoid cost increases and disruption to projects, with the group calling for 20GW of manufacturing capacity by 2030.
PV Tech Premium
January 26, 2022
s solar finds itself deployed in further and more far flung climes, it is also having to operate in increasingly harsher climates. In this article, VDE Renewables assesses how such climates affect PV performance and what must be taken into consideration when formulating O&M strategies.
January 26, 2022
The CEO of US utility NextEra Energy has said that while he thinks it is “more likely than not” that the clean energy piece of the country's Build Back Better (BBB) bill gets acted on this year, the company doesn’t need policy support included in the legislation to achieve its targets.
January 26, 2022
Leading US solar installer Sunrun has upsized its loan facility to US$425 million from US$250 million at “enhanced terms and longer tenor” to reflect the company’s higher valuation and strong performance.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 8, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal
Solar Media Events
April 25, 2022
Berlin, Germany