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THE Baillieu government will slash Victorian Labor’s flagship household solar program by cutting nearly 60 per cent off the feed-in tariff.

In the latest swipe at the green lobby, Victorian Energy and Resources Minister Michael O’Brien yesterday announced a new transitional solar feed-in tariff, which is designed to reward people who produce their own renewable solar energy.

But Mr O’Brien has slashed the new tariff rate from a premium of 60c per kilowatt hour to 25c per kW hour with the possibility of further cuts when an inquiry is held next year by the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission.

The minister has agreed to keep funding the so-called premium tariff rate but that program is all but fully subscribed with about 50,000 users.

New users will be left to sign up to the 25c deal, which is paid for by surplus power generated by their solar power system and then exported to the mains grid.

“This will ensure that homeowners will get a fair return on solar investment; it will mean the industry will have some certainty,” Mr O’Brien said.

Environment Victoria spokesman Mark Wakeham said the move broke an election promise and was done without consultation with the industry.

“The decision to reduce support for solar power, in the same week as the decision to shut the door to new wind farm development, is extremely disappointing,” he said.

Mr O’Brien’s decision follows criticism by the Productivity Commission of roof-top panel subsidies, deemed by some to be expensive and inefficient.

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