Solar tax and Trustpower’s plans to delay solar a desperate money making move says solarcity CEO

New Zealand’s leading solar energy services provider, solarcity, has condemned Trustpower’s support of a residential solar tax as a “desperate move to squeeze every last dollar out of a dying business model”.

Last week Hawke's Bay electricity lines operator, Unison Networks, announced it was introducing a tax of up to 26% on solar power and batteries. Yesterday Trustpower community services manager Graeme Purches came out in support of the tax saying it was “completely understandable”. (2)

solarcity CEO Andrew Booth says Trustpower has knowingly got it wrong.

“Trustpower is supporting a solar tax when the Electricity Authority says the move is out of step with its recommendations.” 

“Just six months ago Trustpower told delegates at the Sustainable Electricity Association conference that it was commercially logical for generators and retailers, who have billions of dollars of assets, to try and delay the take-up of solar for as long as they can.

“They know it’s only a matter of time before there’s a massive uptake of solar and delaying tactics, like a solar tax, are a desperate move to squeeze every last dollar out of a dying business model.

“Utilities have a fundamental financial incentive of ‘build more to profit more’. This conflicts with the public interest of building and maintaining an affordable grid which uses current assets and renewable technologies to reduce costs and to create a sustainable and robust energy service.

“The old financial incentive model was originally constructed to encourage the expansion of electricity access, but it’s now broken and new technology is increasingly making it irrelevant and costly both for consumers and the planet.

“Adding distributed energy systems, which generate electricity at the point of use, will help lower overall electricity prices and make the grid more resilient.”

The Paris agreement established that all countries need to take urgent action on climate change and that switching to renewable energy was the key way to do that, he says.

“The electricity sector should be doing everything possible to move New Zealand towards 100% renewable generation.

“Right now all the sector is doing is rearranging the deck chairs and trying to tax and squeeze more profits from consumers who are doing the right thing for the next generation. We and our nation deserve much better.”