OVERRULED: A State Government regulation regarding the installation of solar panels has been found to be invalid.
OVERRULED: A State Government regulation regarding the installation of solar panels has been found to be invalid. iStock

Regulation could have turned state into 'solar graveyard'

A NEW regulation could have turned Queensland into a solar graveyard.

That is according to the man behind Teebar's solar farm, Maryborough businessman Greg McGarvie.

Mr McGarvie yesterday welcomed the news that the State Government's controversial new solar regulation had been found invalid by the Supreme Court in what has been touted as a huge win for the renewable energy industry.

"I think it's common sense," he said.

The regulation was one of the hurdles the business was facing as it aimed to officially be up-and -running by the end of 2021.

The regulation, which allowed only licensed electricians to mount, locate, fix or remove solar panels on farms larger than 100kW, came into effect on May 13.

It would have doubled the costs of installing solar panels at the Teebar farm, Mr McGarvie said.

However Justice Thomas Bradley this week ruled that Section 73A was invalid, declaring it to be beyond the regulation-making powers of Queensland's Electrical Safety Act.

It comes after Maryrorough Solar Pty Ltd challenged the regulation less than two weeks ago, following concerns its budget for its Brigalow Solar Farm in Queensland would blow out by more than $2.6 million.

Lane Crockett, one of Maryrorough's directors said the decision would help Queensland keep growing a safe, clean and vibrant renewables industry.

"Queensland is a key part of the picture for moving Australia to a clean energy system, so we're looking forward to getting on with safe, efficient construction at the Brigalow Solar Farm, and helping the state meet its renewable energy targets," he said.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace told The Courier-Mail that the regulations had been developed following advice from Crown law and drafted by the Office of Queensland Parliamentary Counsel.

"We will examine the Judgement and will determine a way forward," she said.

The Clean Energy Council's energy generation director Anna Freeman described the ruling as a "victory for common sense."

"The industry is obviously disappointed that this issue came down to a court challenge," she said.

"Mounting and fixing unconnected solar panels to a rail is mechanical work - not electrical work - and we are very pleased the Supreme Court of Queensland has ruled in the industry's favour."

Shadow energy spokesman Michael Hart, who moved a disallowance motion to scrap the regulations in parliament earlier this month, said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister Grace had been left with egg on their faces.

"We should be encouraging renewable investment not slapping it with massive cost hikes," he said.

Queensland Commissioner for Electrical Safety Greg Skyring said the Supreme Court decision resolved a legal issue in relation to the new legislation.