Australian businesses have invested close to half a billion dollars in solar panels, according to new figures from the Clean Energy Council.

More than 15,000 businesses now have solar panels at an estimated value of $458 million dollars, which is saving $64 million in electricity costs.

“These businesses cover a broad range of sectors, from dairy and chicken farmers through to wineries, offices, supermarkets and retail outlets,” Clean Energy Council Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton said.

There was potential for thousands more to follow suit if the Renewable Energy Target was left as legislated, Mr Thornton said.

“There is an increasing recognition that the current modest support provided by the RET means the business case for solar power makes sense, helping businesses become more competitive in tough economic conditions.”

A cut in the target would make it much harder for homes and businesses to go solar, and put up to 5800 solar jobs at risk, he said.

“Some of the recommendations outlined in the recently released review would either shut down these opportunities, or make it so administratively complex for businesses to go solar that they wouldn’t bother.

“This is a very effective policy which is working well and will begin to phase out naturally from 2017. The rest of the world is going full-speed ahead on solar and there is a huge opportunity here for Australian businesses if we leave the RET alone.”