Consequences of any negative changes to the RET

7th March 2014

The Federal Government is undertaking a review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET)

As ‘sgtbenton’ commented in a response to an ABC News Fact Check item (7/3/14):

“I'm not convinced that my comments, or those of anyone else, will carry any weight given that the government is holding a 'review' into the RET. To put it another way, the government has an ideological/political/commercial objection to renewable energy and is largely immune to contrary evidence, but is nevertheless committed to compiling a body of official opinion that will legitimise its decision to abandon or hamstring the RET.

“The obese blowie, wallowing in the government's pot of ideological ointment is the unprecedented uptake of home solar installations. Seems like the Australian people aren't convinced that high cost thermally generated electricity is worth the expense.”



If the Renewable Energy Target (RET) is reduced or scrapped the requirement for Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) will be removed or their value reduced. This means any solar hot water system or solar electrical system you buy will increase in price – perhaps by as much as 25%.

There has been a history of various governments (of different persuasions) chopping and changing the various incentive schemes often for political reasons and usually with very little notice. This is known as the ‘solar-coaster’ and is very destabilising for the renewable energy industry – no doubt to the glee of the various forces of darkness.

Typically these wilful changes take place around the end of the financial year, bringing forward a lot of work and creating a drought for some months afterwards. This in turns leads to a number of companies collapsing (which doesn’t do much for the customer’s apparently water-tight warranties or ongoing customer service). In Victoria, May and June usually have less than salubrious weather making programing of installations more difficult – politicians take note.

So what does all this mean for the tentative customer? If it was me, I would not just be buying my system (solar hot water and/or photovoltaics) as soon as possible but making sure it is fully installed, commissioned and the STCs claimed before the Federal Government makes any negative announcements.

It’s my view that now is a good time to buy solar. International prices are relatively low, the Australian dollar is relatively high, and we still have for the moment a small but welcome point-of-sale subsidy. But don’t wait for the rush or the wet weather or you might miss out.

Stephen Ingrouille, Principal, Going Solar Pty Ltd 

PS See the blog: Explaining the Renewable Energy Target