Oversubscribed solar panel scheme to cost taxpayers $440m

 

Yesterday, Mr Garrett’s office revealed 55,000 of those applications had been approved, potentially at a total cost of $440m.

The figure is well in excess of the $271m set aside at the last budget to fund the scheme to June 30.

Mr Garrett said yesterday notifications to successful claimants would go out this week.

He defended the scheme, which he said was part of an “unprecedented” investment in solar energy by the government.

“Despite the claims and misinformation of the opposition spokesman, this government has funded over 11 times the number of systems funded in eight years of this program under the previous government,” he said.

“We expect that the availability of solar credits will continue to drive a sustainable solar industry into the future.”

Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt said the scheme had created a “boom-bust” mentality within the industry.

“It’s another example of the government, and Mr Garrett in particular, having no management control of their systems.”

He said: “They didn’t understand the program, they didn’t manage the program. They’ve cancelled it abruptly leaving everyone in confusion.”

The $8000 rebate was introduced by the Howard government. The Rudd government means-tested it after taking office in 2007.

Clean Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said that in paying out the claims the government had honoured its election promise.

“It did have a transformational effect on solar, which is now much cheaper as a result of the

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