Even with the Coalition halving the intended solar rebate on offer to households, under its Climate Change Policy they are positive they can still put one million more solar panels on rooftops in a decade.
In the lead up to the federal election recently the change to the solar rebate program was part of the $338 million worth of last-minute cuts made to the Coalition’s Direct Action plan.
The incoming Abbott government forecast spending $3.2 billion over four years on its climate change strategy however that figure has changed and is now more likely to be $2.8 billion.
There are however no changes to the $2.55 billion over four years allocated for activities that cut greenhouse gas emissions such as revegetation and improving soil carbon.
By reducing the rebate to $500, the Coalition anticipates a saving of $200 million over the first four years of the scheme and still reach its goal of installing a million more solar systems within 10 years.
Since Direct Action was designed in 2010 the Coalition’s climate action spokesman Greg Hunt said the cost of solar panel systems had dropped considerably.
He told AAP “You’ve got to have a sustainable rebate”. “What industry wants to see is an end of the boom and bust.”
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Mr Hunt said the scheme would focus on low-income households, but wouldn’t comment on any threshold for the rebate at this stage.
When the Direct Action plan was reviewed in the closing days of the election campaign $50 million was scrapped which was to be used to develop geothermal power over four years.
There was also a cut to the $60 million allocated to clean energy employment hubs with $9 million instead going to the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility at Griffith University.
Funding worth $100 million for a ‘solar towns and schools initiative’ will now be spread across six years rather than four.
The Coalition has vowed not to spend any more therefore the $2.88 billion set aside for four years of Direct Action is now capped.
Mr Hunt has no doubt Australia will meet its promised 5% pollution target under the scheme, and within the budget allocated.