Solar industry cash dries up  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

The Age reports that solar manufacturers are shunning Australia due to lack of government support for renewable energy - Solar industry cash dries up.

AUSTRALIA is forfeiting billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs through its lack of support for solar energy, according to European companies that have shunned the sunburnt country.

An Age investigation has found that potential investors courted by federal and state governments have rejected Australia, the world's sunniest continent, citing a lack of business incentives such as tax breaks and the nation's unwillingness to regulate in favour of renewable energy.

Victorian cabinet committee documents obtained by The Age include a "commercial-in-confidence" list of predominantly European solar firms supposedly interested in Victoria. The 2008 cabinet submission says that with appropriate support, Victoria alone could attract solar investment worth $2.5 billion along with 2500 new jobs. The companies listed have since rejected advances from both the federal and state governments.

Norwegian solar cell manufacturer UMOE tops the confidential list. Last year it combed the world in search of a home for an $800 million solar cell plant that would eventually employ 1300. Drawn to Australia by its natural solar strengths, UMOE talked to a number of states and the federal investment arm Austrade about a location for its poly-silicon plant.

But this month UMOE opted instead for cloudy Canada. Its renewables chief, Oystein Oyehaug, said: "In the 10 to 15 countries we visited we got substantially better packages than from Australia, whether it was tax or investment incentives or bank underwriting." He said the solar industry had been hopeful the Federal Government would embrace renewable energy. But the "key problem" for solar energy in Australia was the Government's "lack of a policy"

1 comments

I think solar is more sustainable in the near term than wind energy. Those turbines are so big. Until they become less of an eye sore, solar will be the thing providing it continues to get better bang for the buck.

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