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What impact would scrapping the RET have on the solar industry?

It won't be long now until the expert panel reviewing the Renewable Energy Target (RET) publishes its findings, and many groups are still keen to make their opinions known.

One of them is the Clean Energy Council (CEC), which has discussed just how important the RET is for supporting the solar power industry. With Australia striving to make better use of renewables, the group believes it makes perfect sense for the RET to remain in place.

Keeping renewable sector employment afloat

Acting Chief Executive of the CEC Kane Thornton explained how the sector currently employs 13,000 workers and 5,800 of them could find themselves out of work if the RET is disbanded.

If Australia is no longer working towards the aim of sourcing 20 per cent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, the production of related technologies could be seriously jeopardised.

At a time when employment is high on the political agenda, the CEC suggested that the best course of action would be to maintain the RET at its current level.

Bringing investment to the economy

Closely linked to job creation is the level of investment in the economy that solar brings - something the CEC believes could be derailed if the wrong decision is made.

Figures show solar has contributed $10 billion of consumer investment to the national economy over the past five years alone, with the potential for this figure to be increased even further.

"These systems have helped to reduce sharp spikes in electricity demand on some of the hottest days of the year, reducing costs for all consumers and easing the strain on the whole power system," said Mr Thornton.

He argued that slashing the RET would play right into the hands of coal-fired power stations, rather than supporting the renewable sector at a time when it's able to thrive.

Bringing down electricity prices

One of the obvious benefits of supporting solar power is the positive impact it has on electricity prices, which is especially important as people face increasing pressure from rising household bills.

Mr Thornton emphasised how it's low to middle-income households that are reaping the most benefits from solar panels at the moment.

"These are the groups that will be most disadvantaged by any cut in the target. Given what a nation of sun lovers we are, solar should have a bright future," he noted.

Mr Thornton argued that scrapping the RET will not have a positive impact on either consumers or the wider economy.

Posted by Richard West