Australian Govt Warns Against NSW Greens Solar Push

The NSW Greens want to spend $1.25 billion to double the number of homes and small businesses with solar panels in four years but the state government warns the push could result in unsafe batteries being installed in homes and a less stable energy grid.

Solar panels and batteries would be installed on 850,000 homes – including all new homes – under the Greens plan while 310,000 unit dwellers and public housing tenants would be able to access solar rebate schemes.

NSW at present has 454,000 solar electricity units on homes and small businesses, having added about 54,000 last year, according to the federal government’s Clean Energy Regulator.

“It is negligent that in 2019 we have over 70,000 new dwellings in NSW every year and no requirement for solar panels on these developments,” Greens environment spokeswoman Cate Faehrmann said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We are seeing the devastating impacts of climate change now. That’s why we need more ambition for household solar than the plans announced by the Labor party and the government.”

The Greens want 500,000 households with a weekly income of under $3000 per week to be able to access a $2000 rebate for rooftop solar and batteries.

The Greens, who say they won’t support a Liberal-Nationals government, have also guaranteed a minimum price for power fed back into the electricity grid.

NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin says the Greens policy is very irresponsible and “could destabilise the energy grid”.

“Trying to push through all these solar panels and batteries in just four years would absolutely compromise quality and safety for households,” the minister told AAP on Tuesday.

He said the minimum price for solar would push up bills for consumers.

Both the coalition government and Labor opposition unveiled their solar panel policies at the weekend.

The Berejiklian government is offering zero-interest loans to 300,000 homeowners over 10 years to purchase solar and battery systems.

Labor has vowed households with earnings under $3450 per week would be eligible for a rebate of up to $2200 to install solar panels.

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