Photovoltaic panels of solar power station in the landscape at sunset. Picture: FILE
Photovoltaic panels of solar power station in the landscape at sunset. Picture: FILE

Controversial solar laws deemed ‘invalid’

THE Palaszczuk Government's controversial new solar regulation has been found invalid by the Supreme Court, in a huge win for the renewables industry.

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.

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

It comes after Maryborough 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 Maryborough's directors said today's 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 tonightthatthe 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 face.

"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.

"However, my concerns about electrical shock and fire associated with the installation of solar panels at solar farms remain and need to be addressed urgently," he said.