23 July 2010
The Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES) says the Gillard Government’s ‘cash for clunkers’ program has thrown the future of Australia’s solar industry hard into reverse. The solar industry is stunned to learn that $220m will be pulled from the Solar Flagships program to pay for the Gillard government’s $2,000 cash for clunkers scheme. “Why would you rip the heart out of the promising utility scale solar program to simply put more cars on Australia’s already crowded roads?” “By taking money away from solar you are taking money away from a 100% emission free electricity generation, and putting it into reducing emissions from cars. It makes no environmental policy sense”, said Grimes.
The Australian public constantly support solar as the number one climate change solution, and they want to see employment and infrastructure projects rolled out to meet the climate challenge. “This announcement means that clean energy jobs and large clean energy utility projects that had been funded, have just been scrapped or scaled back”. “The Gillard government has just announced that they are cutting these important green collar jobs, just as we should be scaling them up” said Grimes. The ‘cash for clunkers’ program should be funded by reducing the generous Fuel Tax Credits scheme, which subsidises diesel fuel for mining companies, and which costs Australian taxpayers around $4.9 billion a year, or $606 per household per year” said AuSES CEO John Grimes. AuSES is calling for stable policy settings for solar to allow both utility scale solar and personal solar action to be supported.