MEA comes down against 'sun tax' tariff

Master Electricians Australia

Tuesday, 02 July, 2024

MEA comes down against 'sun tax' tariff

Master Electricians Australia (MEA) is warning that a new tariff on solar PV owners — nicknamed the ‘sun tax’ — is unnecessarily punitive and could act as a deterrent for those considering renewable energy systems.

Introduced as a measure to enhance grid stability, the tariff is an export charge for those solar PV owners who feed their solar into the electricity grid during peak times.

Although it was approved by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) in 2021 and came into effect in July 2022, the tariff is only just starting to be rolled out as it requires approval by the relevant state or territory government, and all distributors are required to submit a price proposal to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

MEA CEO Kate Raymond said there was a need to incentivise more consumers to adopt rooftop solar solutions rather than penalising them. “Those consumers and businesses who have done the right thing and are feeding excess energy from their solar panel into the electricity grid should not be asked to pay a price for doing so,” she said.

“These consumers are only guilty of doing what numerous governments have encouraged them to do, but now they are going to be whacked with a new tax at a time when many households are already under financial pressure.

“This is the wrong direction to go down at a crucial time in Australia’s energy transition. We should be looking to strengthen, not weaken, incentives for households and businesses to invest in solar and contribute to the grid.”

Raymond said the MEA has written to the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen requesting his assistance in resolving the matter.

In the meantime, the organisation urged all state and territory energy ministers who were yet to allow power companies to impose the tariff to maintain the status quo for feed-in tariffs and increase incentives for consumer solar with battery solutions.

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