Households will pay nearly $2 billion for rooftop solar installation subsidies this year, costing every home nearly $200 and threatening to derail Scott Morrison’s pledge to cut power bills.
The cost of the federal Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) and state-based rebates combined is forecast to rise by 45 per cent from $1.2bn last year to $1.74bn this year.
Consumers are flocking to solar power, enticed by cheaper costs and rebates either under way or pledged in Victoria, South Australia and NSW.
Analysis by renewables trader Demand Manager reveals the annual impost for every household for the subsidy is forecast to soar from $134 last year to $195 this year. The cost of the subsidy is added to all electricity bills.
The subsidy hike — on top of already high electricity prices — will intensify pressure on the government to scrap the scheme as it battles to deliver on tariff cuts for consumers ahead of a federal election due in May. The subsidy program is currently scheduled to be phased out by 2030.
Demand Manager owner Jeffery Bye said: “If left unchecked, electricity consumers will be hit with an increase of between $360 million and $540m in the cost of the SRES starting January 1, 2019. Far from subsidies for renewable energy decreasing and Mr (Angus) Taylor being the ‘minister for getting electricity prices down’, it would appear the solar subsidy cost item on electricity bills will be increasing markedly in 2019.”