It’s ridiculous for an electricity distribution monopoly to apply a charge on solar panels but worse than that, it’s harming our effort to tackle climate change.
Hawke’s Bay lines company Unison last year announced a new solar charge for their customers, the more commonly-known ‘solar tax’. A complaint was lodged at the Electricity Rulings Panel but yesterday the High Court said the panel didn’t have jurisdiction. Andrew Booth, CEO of Solarcity, who lodged the complaint said: “That’s disappointing for Kiwis looking to embrace solar and energy efficiency as it means the electricity sector is able to make up its own rules without having to defend them in a hearing.”
Solar is a great solution for consumers in the right circumstances to save money and alongside hydro, wind, geothermal and energy efficiency and conservation to get towards 100% renewable electricity. I’ve believe the solar tax is a bad policy that will slow down solar uptake that sets a bad precedent.
It’s pretty clear the current Electricity Industry Code and rules aren’t fit for purpose if this charge continues so it’s going to take political leadership to fix this mess. There are real issues about how we utilise solar in the national grid and pay for networks but they are best addressed through modern electricity pricing not just an arbitrary charge protecting old business models. Local regulated monopolies like Unison should be working with solar homes and utilising the network benefits not trying to discourage these residents with a solar tax because all they will do is drive those customers into batteries and off-grid.
The Green Party will repeal the solar tax.