Solar homes stymied by Govt inaction

Government inaction is allowing the big power companies to discourage the nascent solar power sector, the Green Party said today.

Government inaction is allowing the big power companies to discourage the nascent solar power sector, the Green Party said today.

Green Party MP Gareth Hughes launched a petition today calling on the Government to empower the Electricity Authority to act as an independent umpire that will set fair, reasonable buy-back rates for solar power generation.

“Establishing an independent umpire to set a fair buy-back price would assist the thousands of Kiwis wanting to go solar, making it easier for families to generate their own clean power and to receive a certain price for it,” said Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

“We can support clean solar energy without subsidies, by simply empowering the Electricity Authority to set a fair and reasonable buy-back rate.

“Small-scale solar is growing fast, up a phenomenal 330 percent over the last two years. However savage cuts to the buy-back rate paid by Meridian and Contact Energy will stop this fast-growing sector in its tracks.

“It is hard for prospective solar investors to make long-term investments in solar panels when the power companies can change the buy-back terms with only 30 days’ notice.”

Meridian and Contact Energy recently announced a dramatic 50-70 percent cut in the rate they buy excess solar power from homes and businesses.

“Meridian and Contact have used their market power to act unfairly towards those who are investing in solar,” said Mr Hughes.

“It is time the Government broke the monopoly behaviour of our power companies and established an independent umpire to set a fair rate for buying surplus energy from small-scale producers.

“A simple, empowering law change is all that’s needed,” said Mr Hughes.

More information on the Electricity Industry (Small Scale Renewable Distributed Generation) Amendment Bill:

https://home.greens.org.nz/SSRDG

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