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Solar bill will help power NZ’s transition to green economy

13 August 2015

Solar bill will help power NZ’s transition to green economy

Parliament will get to vote on a simple amendment to the Electricity Industry Act that would guarantee households a fair price for any excess renewable electricity they supply back to the grid, the Green Party said today.

Green Party MP Gareth Hughes had a Members’ Bill in his name pulled from the ballot today. The Electricity Industry (Small-Scale Renewable Distributed Generation) Amendment Bill will empower the Electricity Authority to act as an independent umpire setting a fair, reasonable buy-back rate for small-scale renewable power generation, like solar power.

“The price of solar panels has dropped 99 percent over the last four decades so going solar has become an increasingly smart, green option for families and small businesses,” said Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

“A small law change is all that is needed to give the thousands of Kiwis going solar a fair go.

“My Bill will empower an independent umpire to set a fair buy-back rate and establish standardised contracts to provide certainty and fairness for all.”

Currently there is no price certainty for those wanting to invest in solar energy. Electricity companies are using their market power to discourage the rapid uptake of this disruptive technology. For example, Meridian and Contact Energy last year announced a dramatic 50-70 percent cut in the rate they buy excess solar power from homes and businesses.

“National has so far failed to support families and small businesses going solar with fair rules but they can support this simple, positive solution,” said Mr Hughes.

“We can support clean energy without subsidies by simply empowering the Electricity Authority to set a fair and reasonable buy-back rate.

“Small-scale distributed generation, like solar power, can be big part our clean energy future.

“Going solar will lower our carbon emissions, add resilience to our grid, enable people to gain greater independence from increasing power prices, and will create good green jobs throughout New Zealand.”

ends

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