In Russian there is an expression: The wise man learns from mistakes of others, the smart man learns from his own, and the stupid one never learns.
Take your pick where you want to place the Queensland government, but the cost escalation of the state's Solar Bonus Scheme clearly shows some parallels to the namesake that once ran in NSW.
Race to beat the deadline
On 27th October 2010 the NSW government announced the reduction of its SBS feed-in tariff from 60¢ to 20¢ effective on midnight of the same day. Thousands of applications were made that day, increasing the cost of the scheme significantly.
At the end of June the QLD government announced that from 10 July 2012 the SBS feed-in tariff will change from 44 cents per kilowatt hour to 8 cents per kilowatt hour. That means both consumers and installers had a fortnight to get applications in and the message out, respectively.
While the NSW government was taken by surprise by the stampede of applications made within a few hours, the QLD government must have known that a rush would follow. There are over 1000 licensed solar installers in QLD and many advertised on TV, radio and newspapers to secure as many jobs as possible – with success: more than 100,000 applications were received between the announcement and the cut-off date.
Cost of QLD Solar Bonus Scheme
Now the QLD government projects that the annual cost of the subsidy will rise from $50 to $100 for each household from the surge in applications, and another $50 for upgrades to the power grid. The Queensland Consumers Association says costs to subsidise solar are forecast to triple.
The Yellow Press and the QLD opposition are having a field day but both were awfully quiet during those two weeks before July 10th. Napoleon once said: 'Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake'. The French general still has some admirers.