With governments enacting measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, renewable energy in Australia stands at a critical juncture. We must act swiftly to send a message to Australian governments that the provision of solar and renewables is an essential service and should not be shut down unless a total economy-wide lockdown is required.
That's why the Environment Centre NT signed the following joint statement, instigated by Solar Analytics.
We the undersigned request that Federal and State governments specify that the provision of new rooftop solar and the maintenance of existing solar is an essential energy provision service and shall continue to be supported and delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The continued provision of rooftop solar systems and the maintenance of existing systems ameliorate energy bill stress and provides financial resilience for households in the face of diminished incomes.
In off-grid circumstances it keeps the lights on, and the fridge and internet-powered.
Some solar companies are reporting a strong appetite for new rooftop installations at this very point in time. There is widespread understanding in the community of the value in investing in solar.
Critically, the provision of solar PV and services is done outdoors. It does not require entry to the home and presents minimal risk to homeowners.
The industry is responding to the new risks presented by the COVID-19 pandemic with new measures to protect customers and installation and maintenance teams from any spread of infection.
Around 25% of households currently depend upon solar for energy provision. It is important that if their systems fail, services are available to restore the power supply from their solar.
Solar SMEs across Australia have the potential to be counter cyclical and resilient, providing safe employment and keeping local economies ticking.
Rooftop solar is the biggest employer in the renewables sector, at 46%. If the solar, storage and distributed energy industry grinds to a halt, the jobs of over 6,000 small businesses and 20,000 employees are at immediate risk.
Commercial solar installations are optimal investments for government tax incentives such as the Instant Asset Write-off scheme because they deliver savings from day one, they build financial resilience, provide ongoing savings for SMEs and they deliver essential emissions reductions.
Signed,The Environment Centre NT
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