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Greens mislead on solar subsidy

By Jamie Whyte

Russell Norman’s inability to understand that a concessional interest rate is a subsidy is bewildering. Interest rates should reflect the risk of the borrowers not of taxpayers. One of the purposes of interest rates is to communicate information about risk.

In the Green’s scheme they disguise the actual risk of the borrower. Then they propose to use the expensive machinery of the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 which will involve Councils in recovering debts that they had nothing to do with loaning in the first place.

It’s bad policy to use the Local Government rating Act to do debt collections for central Government.

As I have said, it would be more honest just to subsidise the photovoltaic (PV) panels directly. But then it would be more clearly an election bribe.

For most homeowners the Greens' PV panel scheme will be bad economics. In November 2013 Consumer Magazine reported: “The economics of grid-tied PV don’t stack up – particularly when you include the lack of significant environmental benefits. Our calculations show that most grid-tied PV systems have negative net present value (NPV), which means you’re better off putting your money in the bank.”

The Green’s PV is also unnecessary. A few consumers are already doing this when it economically stacks up for them, and without Government assistance.

What’s more, at least one Lines Company, Vector is running its own Sungenie pilot scheme where it provides the panels and equipment at its cost.

The Greens have failed to make out a case where central government needs to get involved with PV panels.


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