Solar Backflip

solar panels

Interesting to see what is happening in NSW at the moment. Barry O’Farrell has canned the solar rebates scheme. That is probably not in keeping with the modern line of trying to have a sustainable green credentialed approach to all things. And perhaps that is part of the rub, who would think that the government paying you 60 cents per unit for something they sell for 20 cents is going to work in the long term, or even the short term for that matter. A credible announcement may have been the stop new applications while a new policy was devised.

I have panels installed on my roof that have not yet been connected to the grid. My understanding is that the purchase is subject to a rebate, and that following it’s connection there will be a system of net metering, effectively meaning that the government will rebate at full credit what I put back into the grid at the same rate that I am paying. My hope in doing this was to half the power bill in the long term, and at the same time reduce our carbon footprint and play my part os a meaningful citizen.

Is it reasonable to stop and review the scheme. Absolutely yes. Is it appropriate for the government to re-write contracts unilaterally and retrospectively without consulting the people affected. No it is not. It fly’s in the face of natural justice, and of course is politically stupid.

Will Barry get his way? I doubt it. There is no doubt that it would generate a class action which the government could expect to loose resoundingly at equity. Will there be a new and more sensible version of the scheme? I would think so.

We have 11 panels installed which I imagine will provide for half our power needs. The couple in the paper today had 48 panels providing three times their needs. That seems to me to be an income generation approach that was taken to the old scheme, and I can see why that simply underlines how silly the previous government was, as if we needed any reminder. A silly scheme should be resolved, however in a fair society the undertaking of a government should be honoured, contractually for the life of the contract. If they want the change the contracts, then on a case by case basis they need to re-negotiate the contracts.

In contract case law there is a saying ‘hard cases make bad law’, and that seems to be what is going on here. I don’t get the right to change contract conditions I don’t like, and neither does the Government.


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