One of the less well-known features of the budget announced last week was the means testing of the solar energy rebate. Starting July 1, households with a combined income over $100,000 will no longer qualify for this rebate. Losing the rebate can increase the price of solar power by up to 200%. And with today’s interest rates (our mortgage repayments have doubled since we bought our house- how about yours?), most people on a combined income of less than $100,000 can’t afford solar even with the rebate. So this proposal will basically kill the domestic urban solar business in Australia.
The most straightforward approach to stop this from happening is to ask the Coalition to block the means testing in the senate. It is obvious to both the supporters and detractors of the Coalition that their response to the budget hasn’t been terribly effective so far; this will give them a badly needed win.
The Greens have already come out against this cut. If the Coalition joins them, then Labor will actually have to defend their decision to cut solar in favor of increased coal subsidies. If we’re lucky, that might mean that the Greenhouse and Environment Ministers will have to start answering questions on this issue, instead of ducking them.
How to do it:
- Look up your senators (Wikipedia has a list).
- Google the contact info for the listed Liberal and National senators from your home state.
- Send them a short snail mail or email asking them to block the means testing of the solar rebate in the Senate.
- Ask your friends to do the same- even if their politics differ from yours, this is an issue which should appeal to just about everyone who isn’t a coal-fired denialist Ruddbot.
- Sending a thank you note to your Greens senators for opposing this measure wouldn’t hurt either.
Note: While I am a proponent of bringing nuclear power to Australia, I still think that energy diversity is important, and cutting renewables to fund clean coal corporate handouts is shortsighted.