Media - Solar Citizens

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COAG Energy Council outcomes cloudy

Today’s COAG Energy Council meeting, touted as one of the most critical meetings about Australia’s energy future, has ended with few tangible outcomes for the nation’s necessary transition to renewable energy, giving an apparent nod to the fierce campaign by fossil fuel incumbents, according to Solar Citizens.

“It’s safe to say this is a disappointing outcome at a time when we urgently need real, practical and meaningful policy interventions that drive change the community wants,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director, Solar Citizens.

“What we wanted to see from the COAG Energy Council is agreement that a fundamental rewrite of our energy laws is needed to facilitate the orderly transition to 100% renewable power and the steps to get that process underway.

“This is a real missed opportunity for these Ministers to recognise the need for best practice strategic planning for the transition of our energy systems, a transition that is already well advanced.

“The recognition of the importance of battery storage is an important step, but this seems to be largely clouded over by the recognition of the gas industry’s campaigning efforts,” she said.

“We need a coherent plan for the national energy market, a clear roadmap for the path to 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and national recognition that the future of our country must be powered by clean energy,” O’Rourke said.

Media Contact: Andrew Bradley P: 0403 777 137 E: andrew@holdfast.global

A hit on ARENA - reckless, foolish and short sighted

Reports that the Turnbull Government is planning to tear $1 billion from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as one of it first acts of the new Parliament would send shockwaves through the sector.

“ARENA is a critical driver of the energy transition that Australia is in the midst of — it is a facilitator of innovation, an engine of cutting edge research and new technology and any move to slash its capabilities is a brazen attack on Australia’s innovation future,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

"It is hard to believe that, yet again, the very organisations that will drive our future prosperity are in the crosshairs of this Government.

“These sort of politically driven, piecemeal policies and funding cuts will only end up with us responding to emergencies rather than building a decent plan for our future energy needs,” she said.

“Slashing and burning ARENA will see Australia miss out on its rightful share of the $800b global renewable energy investment boom, and we will miss out on all of the accompanying jobs, growth and investment.

“The global transition to renewables is already underway. Australia needs a national plan to harness the multi-billion dollar renewables boom and manage the orderly transition to 100% clean renewable power.

“ARENA is a critical element of this.

“Powering our lives and our homes with 100% renewable electricity by 2030 is 100% possible and 100% necessary; Australians overwhelmingly support renewables — all we need is a decent plan and the political will to get us there.

“Before the election we described these cuts as reckless, foolish and short sighted, today that is still our assessment.

“We expect the Opposition, Greens and crossbenchers to fiercely oppose these cuts, to reflect what Australians want to see,” said O’Rourke.

Media Contact: Andrew Bradley P: 0403 777 137 E: andrew@holdfast.global

ESCOSA decision makes zero cents for renewables

The decision by the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA), to remove the minimum price for solar exports is out of step with regulators nationally and shows an absolute lack of understanding in the South Australian electricity market.

“South Australian electricity companies will no longer have to pay households with solar panels for the excess power generated by their rooftop units,” said National Director of Solar Citizens, Claire O’Rourke.

“Tens of thousands of solar owners in South Australia will now be offered nothing for their excess solar sent to the grid and that is a loss for all electricity consumers in South Australia.

“The decision will affect the 197,500 households with solar in South Australia, particularly the 60,000 households due to come off the 16c Solar Bonus Scheme in October.

“The commission said their decision was based on its view that the market structures that facilitate electricity retail competition are ‘sound’ and continued regulation of the Feed in Tariff might ‘inhibit competition’ in the future.

“Either the ESCOSA has a real lack of understanding in the South Australian electricity market or an incredibly short memory.

“It is the lack of competition in the South Australian electricity market that has been widely identified as a major reason behind recent wholesale price spikes.

“The decision by the ESCOSA ignores the huge value of rooftop solar in South Australia that has helped provide reliable, cheaper electricity and reduce the price of electricity for all South Australians.

“If we want to encourage a smarter way of generating cheaper energy, we should be valuing solar electricity. Solar power, especially when coupled with battery storage, can provide the solution for higher electricity prices.

“When electricity prices in South Australia have only just last month risen by 10%, it’s incredible that the regulator now thinks a fair price for solar households is effectively zero cents.

“Both the Queensland Victorian state governments have inquiries underway examining what the fair price for solar electricity is.

“The Victorian Essential Services Commission draft report indicates that solar owners deserve a higher rate because of the huge benefits distributed solar brings to the electricity grid and it also recommends solar owners be paid more at peak times.

The report outlines solar’s benefits to the electricity grid:

  • Rooftop Solar is cleaner, produces no harmful air pollution and is more efficient as it doesn’t travel as far;
  • Rooftop solar produces maximum output when it’s needed most - during hot days in the middle of the day and in the afternoons when demand peaks due to air-conditioners straining the grid;
  • Rooftop solar power reduces the wholesale price of electricity which benefits all electricity consumers.

Media Contact: Sara Duddy P: 02 6689 5515 E: sara@helloword.net.au

Solar Citizens is an independent, community-based organisation bringing together millions of solar owners and supporters to grow and protect solar in Australia. Together, we take action to protect the rights of millions of Australians with solar to cut bills, create clean power and take energy generation back into our own hands.

It’s simple - South Australia’s solar households save thousands

Amidst a misinformed and furious debate in South Australia about electricity prices, analysis by Solar Citizens in their State of Solar report reveals that SA is currently the best place in Australia for households to install solar and save money.

“South Australia has the highest percentage of solar rooftop owners in the country, 197,549 homes or 28.8% of all homes in the State, amongst the highest rates of solar penetration in the world, and the simple fact is that each of these households is saving hundreds if not thousands of dollars each year by powering their homes with solar,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director, Solar Citizens.

“In the 2014-15 financial year the savings made by solar owners on average in South Australia was $1,295.37 per household – more than any other State in the nation,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“A simple and indisputable fact - homeowners are currently better off financially by adopting solar power for their homes in SA.

The State of Solar report, recently released by Solar Citizens, was the first of its kind to undertake a detailed evaluation of the benefits of Australia’s solar rooftop boom quantifying out-of-pocket investment, the jobs created, savings made on power bills and environmental benefits.

“There are problems ahead though, even for South Australia. At the end of September 62,000 SA will lose their 16c premium feed in tariff and see bill hikes of $380 on average. The minimum retailer price for solar is 6.8c. Retailers then on sell this to neighbours for at least 4 times this amount.

South Australian energy prices are the highest in Australia, disconnections are the highest in the country andretailers gouge from customers more in SA than elsewhere.

“Again it is clear that right now solar is part of the solution to electricity prices in South Australia not a part of the problem, we can see very clearly that this is why we need more solar and renewables not less,” she said.

“The national figures are incredible, $7bn of out-of-pocket investment in rooftop solar pv, $4.4bn in bill savings and in terms of environmental benefits, 6 million tonnes of CO2 expected to be averted in 2016 alone,” she said.

Figures recently released by Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance indicate a staggering forecast of future investment in renewables globally. Through to 2040, BNEF forecast a record $7.8 trillion to be invested in renewables, including $3.4 trillion for solar, $3.1 trillion for wind, and $911 billion for hydro power.

Solar Saves Australia

Media Contact: Andrew Bradley P: 0403 777 137 E: andrew@holdfast.global 

Early solar adopters to face electricity bill shocks

19 July 2016: Solar Citizens are urging solar users to prepare for increased electricity prices with feed-in tariffs set to finish in months.

Government programs, or ‘Solar Bonus Schemes’, which incentivised solar uptake are set to end in the coming months in South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria, affecting more than 275,000 people.

“146,000 early solar adopters in NSW, particularly on the 60c Solar Bonus Scheme, will face bill hikes of $1,000 or more from 1 January 2017,” said Reece Turner, Consumer Campaigner with Solar Citizens.

“In addition, solar owners must ensure they have a new electricity meter installed.

“Without a new meter they will effectively be wasting their solar power, sending it back onto the electricity grid and unable to use it themselves.

“More than 62,000 solar owners, who take advantage of the South Australian 16c feed-in tariff which ends in October, will face bill shocks of around $380, whilst 67,000 Victorians on the transitional or “1 for 1” scheme face bill increases of $680 per year from 2017.

“Early solar adopters need to have a plan about how to maximise their solar power by using timers, considering a shift to heat pumps or electric how water systems and even preheating or cooling their homes,” Turner said.

Solar Citizens, in partnership with other community groups, have produced a video and outlining 5-steps for solar owners to most of their solar and minimise bill shock.

The 5 steps:

  1. Get a new meter (NSW only)
  2. Use more of your solar electricity
  3. Think about getting off gas
  4. Get the best electricity deal
  5. Consider battery storage

More at:  http://www.solarcitizens.org.au/life_after_fits

These five steps are based on a comprehensive report from the Alternative Technology Association, commissioned by Total Environment Centre.

The full report can be found here: http://www.solarcitizens.org.au/life_after_fits

Media Contact: Reece Turner 0450 466 040 reece at solarcitizens.org.au

Solar Citizens is an independent, community-based organisation bringing together millions of solar owners and supporters to grow and protect solar in Australia. Together, we take action to protect the rights of millions of Australians with solar to cut bills, create clean power and take energy generation back into our own hands.

Tomorrow’s power price hike means there’s never been a better time to go solar

30 June, 2016: Australians all over the country are bracing for higher power prices from tomorrow making solar power an increasingly smart option to save households hundreds every year on their bills.

Solar Citizens has for the first time undertaken calculations on the savings solar owners make on their electricity bills in each State and Territory. This featured in the report launched just days ago, The State of Solar 2016 Report.

In the last financial year (2014-205) Australia’s 1.5 million solar homes saved on average $653 per year on their electricity bills - just over $1 billion in total.

“It takes around six years for a household to pay back the cost of their solar system and then after that, their solar power is free,” said Reece Turner, Consumer Campaigner with Solar Citizens.

Whilst millions of Australians benefit from rooftop solar, Solar Citizens is calling on the major political parties to do more to help share the benefits of solar power with all Australians.

“Policy imagination from our political leaders to enable tenants and apartment dwellers to benefit from Australia’s solar resources is sorely lacking. We know that greater investment in renewables will put downward pressure on power prices,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director with Solar Citizens.

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The State of Solar Report is available at: http://www.solarcitizens.org.au/stateofsolar2016

Media Contact: Andrew Bradley P: 0403 777 137 E: andrew@holdfast.global

 

Want a win in Bass? Target the 9,318 solar voters

22 June, 2016: In every federal electorate in Tasmania except for one, there are more voters with solar panels on their roof than the number of voters required to change the sitting member.

“If the major parties are serious about winning seats in Tasmania, they should be speaking directly to the 50,094 voters who have themselves invested in clean energy,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

Solar Scorecard analysis was compiled using detailed postcode data published by the Clean Energy Regulator and weighted in accordance with the AEC federal electoral boundary redistribution in 2016.

In the seat of Bass, there are 9,318 people of voting age living in homes powered by the sun compared with only 2,563 votes needed to swing the seat,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

“It’s not hard to do the maths on why that is a powerful constituency right there,” she said. Solar Citizens are launching their Homegrown Power Plan in Launceston on Thursday. It’s a comprehensive suite of policies that shows how Australia can repower Australia with 100% renewable power by 2030.

Claire O'Rourke, and co-author of the plan Nicky Ison who founded the Community Power Agency, will talk to residents in the seat of Bass about why a transition to 100% renewable electricity by 2030 is absolutely achievable.

Local resident, Anne Wennagel from Westbury, said she would be at the Homegrown Power Plan event to hear how we can transition to 100% renewable power for our future generations.

“We can't rely on power supply, especially in rural areas. Australia needs to get in line with the rest of the world on renewables. This can ensure the jobs and energy security Tasmanian' s deserve.

Ms O’Rourke said solar ownership is more prevalent in rural, regional and outer mortgage belt suburbs, where marginal electorates are most prevalent.

“These people are average Australians who decide to back renewable energy by installing solar panels on their roofs. They do this because they know, in the long run, it will reduce their power bills and save the environment,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“They want to know their government backs renewable energy as well.

“With less than two weeks until polling day, we’ve not seen any comprehensive plan for an orderly transition to clean, renewable power from the Federal Government.

“In 121 of the 150 lower house seats in the House of Representatives there are enough solar voters that could change their MP and turn politics in this country on its head,” she said.

 The Solar Scorecard website can be found at: www.solarscorecard.org.au

Full Briefing available on request or here.

What: Homegrown Power Plan launch

When: June 23 6 - 8pm

Where: St John Craft Beer (Barrel Room)

133 St John Street, Launceston

Media Contact: Andrew Bradley P: 0403 777 137 E: andrew@holdfastcommunications.com.au

 

Mining the Sun: Australia’s modern day gold rush

The State of Solar report is the first of its kind to undertake a detailed evaluation of the benefits of Australia’s solar rooftop boom quantifying out-of-pocket investment, the jobs created, savings made on power bills and environmental benefits.

“The results are simply staggering, $8bn of out-of-pocket investment in rooftop solar pv over the last decade, $4.4bn in bill savings and in terms of environmental benefits, 6 million tonnes of CO2 expected to be averted in 2016 alone,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director, Solar Citizens.

“With 5 million people living under a solar powered roof, Australia has the highest levels of rooftop solar in the world. This transformation has happened in just 6 years.

“The growth is astonishing and it is fascinating that we can see, for the first time, what average Australians themselves have invested to ride this boom,” she said.

From 2006 to 2010, the number of solar systems installed each year in Australia trebled year-on-year.

“Australians are leading the renewables charge and this new set of data plainly reveals that investment in solar pv has been the backbone of the renewables revolution in Australia,” she said.

“Australian political leaders need to understand just how much the average Australian themselves have committed of their own money to play a part in the transition of our power system. With 5 million Australians (or 1 in 5 voters) living under a solar roof, this is potent political constituency,” said O’Rourke.

“The global transition to renewables is already underway. Australia needs a national plan to harness the multi-billion dollar renewables boom and manage the orderly transition to 100% clean renewable power.

“Powering our lives and our homes with 100% renewable electricity by 2030 is technically possible and absolutely necessary as we outlined in our Homegrown Power Plan modelling.

Figures released by Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance last week indicate a staggering forecast of future investment in renewables globally. Through to 2040, BNEF forecast a record $7.8 trillion to be invested in renewables, including $3.4 trillion for solar, $3.1 trillion for wind, and $911 billion for hydro power.

Many of our State and Territory Governments understand this renewables revolution with four jurisdictions undertaking their own renewable energy targets (QLD, SA, VIC, ACT). But the Turnbull-Abbott Government has the regrettable track-record of cutting the national renewable energy target and still has not released a renewable energy policy.

Topline figures from report:

Out of Pocket investment in solar – The State of Solar Report is the first to quantify these figures:
Australians have invested “out-of-pocket” over $8bn in the last 10 years in rooftop solar pv.
In the 2014-15 financial year, Australians invested $1.23 billion dollars in rooftop solar from their own pocket. By comparison, investment in all large scale solar energy projects in calendar year 2014 was only around $118 million.
Every year for the last five years, Australians have spent more than $1 billion of their own money on small-scale solar PV systems (under 10kW).

Bill Savings – The State of Solar Report is the first to quantify these figures:
Solar households have saved $4.4 billion on their power bills since financial year 2007/2008 and around $1bn every year for the past three years.
Averaging this across all solar households, it can be said that in FY 2014/2015, the typical solar household saved $653 on their electricity bill.

Environmental Benefits - In 2016 alone, Australia’s rooftop solar generators will generate over 6.5 TWh, preventing around 6,301,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas from polluting our environment. That’s the equivalent of taking one-third of all trucks off Australian roads.[2]
A survey of Solar Citizens supporters undertaken in January 2016 with more than 4,300 respondents revealed that the primary driver for purchasing solar was financial reasons (60%), over environmental reasons (38%). But tellingly, there are greater satisfaction levels relating to the environmental impact of their solar arrays for these same respondents (95%) over the financial return (88%) and an overwhelming majority expected their solar investment to pay off.
The report is available here or upon request.

Media Contact: Andrew Bradley P: 0403 777 137

The full report is available here: http://www.solarcitizens.org.au/stateofsolar2016 

 

 

CEFC fast becoming LNP pork barrel

Federal Government plans announced today, to yet again reallocate money from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), this time to a ‘Sustainable Cities Investment Fund’, further risks the mandate of the CEFC and sees this important institution at danger of becoming yet another political pork barrel, according to Solar Citizens. 

“Here we are again, pulling money from an important institution to meet a short term political objective - no matter what they try and tell the Australian public, this government still has no coherent plan for the shift to clean renewable power beyond 2020,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

“This is another politically driven, piecemeal policy that sees us yet again responding to a political need rather than building a decent plan for our future energy needs.

“With under two weeks to go, it is becoming clearer and clearer that the Turnbull Government has only one plan - a plan to get themselves re-elected.

“This just won't cut it,” she said.

“Australia stands to gain an $800b slice of the global renewable energy investment boom, and we will miss out on jobs, growth and investment if we don't get on with it now - this is what the CEFC is really for.

“One wonders what the CEFC Board and Management feel as they watch their investment mandate being pulled apart with these announcements.

“The global transition to renewables is already underway. Australia needs a national plan to harness the multi-billion dollar renewables boom and manage the orderly transition to 100% clean renewable power.

“Powering our lives and our homes with 100% renewable electricity by 2030 is 100% possible and 100% necessary; Australians overwhelmingly support renewables - all we need is a decent plan and the political will to get us there,” she said.

Media Contact: Andrew Bradley P: 0403 777 137 E: andrew@holdfast.global

Solar scorecard:http://solarscorecard.org.au/

Vote 1 Solar campaign:http://www.solarcitizens.org.au/vote1solar

Homegrown Power Plan:http://www.solarcitizens.org.au/hpp

Government’s ‘reef’ announcement: All political fix, no plan

Today’s announcement from the Federal Government saying it plans to reallocate money from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to a fund aimed at bandaging the severe wounds of the Great Barrier Reef is a case of ‘shuffling some deck chairs about’, according to Solar Citizens.

“No matter what they try and tell the Australian public, this government has no coherent plan for the shift to clean renewable power beyond 2020 – these sort of politically driven, piecemeal policies will end up with us responding to emergencies rather than building a decent plan for our future energy needs,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens. 

“The Turnbull Government has only one plan it seems, a plan to get themselves re-elected, to hoodwink the public into believing that today’s announcement is a meaningful and considered response to the crisis playing out up North. 

“It is not,” she said.

“Australia stands to gain an $800b slice of the global renewable energy investment boom, and we will miss out on jobs, growth and investment if we don't get on with it now - this is what the CEFC is for.

“The global transition to renewables is already underway. Australia needs a national plan to harness the multi-billion dollar renewables boom and manage the orderly transition to 100% clean renewable power.

“Powering our lives and our homes with 100% renewable electricity by 2030 is 100% possible and 100% necessary; Australians overwhelmingly support renewables - all we need is a decent plan and the political will to get us there.

“The Government has made it crystal clear that they still intend to lock in at least $1bn in savage cuts to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as outlined in the May budget – a reckless, foolish and short sighted move,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

“This was on top of their sustained and ideological attacks on the Renewable Energy Target,” she said.

Media Contact:

Andrew Bradley P: 0403 777 137 E: andrew@holdfast.global