Solar retailer Jill Barker is used to working in an industry unusually affected by political decisions.
Since starting in the then fledgling industry in 1998, she has been buoyed by the introduction of subsidies and occasional dramatic increases in incentive payments and hit by overnight cuts in support.
She said the announcement that a $1000 rebate for solar hot water systems was closing earlier than expected was just the latest challenge to face her Bendigo family business.
''You really need to have balls to survive in this industry,'' she said. ''We will see the industry just stop dead and it will be a couple of months before it starts again. There is absolutely no doubt there will be less work and that will impact on everyone involved - there just won't be as many hours to go around.''
Clean energy industry leaders yesterday attacked the federal government's decision to end the Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme, claiming it would threaten more than 1200 manufacturing and 6000 installation and sales jobs.
Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change Mark Dreyfus issued a press release at 5pm on Tuesday saying that only systems bought or ordered before then would qualify for the rebate.
Dux Hot Water general manager Simon Terry said it had expected customers would be able to receive the rebate if they bought a system before June 30, based on advice on the Department of Climate Change website. But he said manufacturing jobs at Dux were safe.
Mr Terry said the government's approach to ending rebates made investment decisions risky and sent mixed signals. ''With a carbon tax around the corner, the federal government should be trying to give these types of products a cuddle rather than a kicking,'' he said.
Converting from electric to solar hot water is considered one of the cheapest ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr Dreyfus stressed that the rebate was available until June 30 as people who had already bought solar systems or made deposits could lodge applications until that date.
He hit back at the industry claims they had been blindsided. ''Rheem and Dux have always known, since the inception of this rebate program, that it was going to end in 2012,'' he said. ''This is good budget practice to shut a program of this nature in this way … We're dealing with taxpayers' dollars.''