(SeeNews) - Jan 29, 2014 - About 2,000 solar jobs in Australia will be lost immediately and thousands more will be foregone if the government does abandon the renewable energy target (RET), a new report for The REC Agents Association (RAA) says.
In total, abolishing the goal will mean that as many as 6,750 jobs will be lost or not created by 2018, says the study which was carried out by Solar Business Services and commissioned by Greenbank Environmental for industry body RAA.
The forecast for sector jobs is also not too bright in a scenario that envisages only a cut to the renewables target. The report estimates that 600 jobs could be lost in 2015. However, with no changes to the target as many as 8,000 new solar photovoltaics (PV) jobs could be opened between now and 2018. This increase will be driven by falling solar prices and growing utility rates.
“Axing the RET is on the Government’s agenda and they need to understand this would have a diabolical impact on jobs, industry and the hundreds of thousands of Australians who want to put solar on their homes,” said Fiona O’Hehir, RAA vice-president and chief executive of Greenbank Environmental.
In 2013 the Australian solar sector provided employment to around 17,000 people at 4,300 small and medium-sized firms. In 2012 the industry reached a peak of 23,500 solar PV and hot water jobs, but the removal of state and federal government incentives led to a 22% PV market drop and a 20% decline in the solar thermal segment.