Coalition anti dumping decision to cause rooftop solar costs to rise

The cost of installing rooftop solar PV arrays in Australia is set to edge up after the federal government gave its approval this week to an anti-dumping ruling that will drive up the price of rooftop PV mounting systems by between 10-20 per cent.
The ruling – quietly pushed through a week before the election by the Coalition's (caretaker) minister for industry, Karen Andrews – places a 'dumping margin' as high as 55 per cent – or 96 per cent for unspecified or “uncooperative” exporters –  on aluminium extrusions used to mount solar panels, coming to Australia from China.
According to the submissions made to the anti-dumping commission since the investigation was opened in July 2018, the anti-dumping law appears to have been driven largely by the local aluminium extrusion industry, including the ASX-listed Capral, NSW company AluShapes, Austar Holdings, and Extrusions Australia.
According to solar industry calculations, however, this will push up the price of solar mounting systems by up to 20 per cent, which will in turn raised the overall costs of installing a PV system by 1-2 per cent.
The small but unwanted increase in the price of installing solar will most likely be absorbed by businesses, already working with very slender margins and – depending on which state they are operating in – a mess of stop-start policies.
In Queensland, the large-scale and commercial industries are bracing for Monday's state government-led rule change, which will require the lifting, mounting and fixing solar panels on projects 100kW and over to be carried out by qualified electricians only.
As we reported here yesterday
, the rule, which was rushed through based on reports of unsafe practices on solar farms in the state, is expected to have dire consequences for the Queensland solar industry, including job losses, cost increases, and project delays.
And in Victoria, a three-month pause in applications for the state's Solar Homes rebate has thrown the brakes on the residential rooftop PV market
, while customers hold out until the scheme reopens in July.
Sophie Vorrath
Sophie is editor of One Step Off The Grid
and deputy editor of its sister site, Renew Economy
. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.
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