Media - Solar Citizens

Media Releases

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

 

See how the sun will rise for New England – Homegrown Power Plan launch comes to Tamworth

Following last week’s release of the annual Solar Citizens’ national ‘Solar Scorecard’, the people of New England have the opportunity to hear first-hand how they too can play a part in the great transition of our power systems at a launch event for the
Homegrown Power Plan in Tamworth.

“We really hope the local people of the New England electorate can turn out to our Homegrown Power Plan launch tomorrow (Thursday June 9) evening,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director, Solar Citizens.

“It’s an incredibly timely event, especially given the ReachTel polling that emerged today viaThe Australia Institute. It revealed that almost three quarters of the federal electorate of NewEngland support Australia gradually transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2030 – a staggering, but not unexpected figure.

“This election, we want to make sure the people that are trying to represent the people of the area to make a firm commitment to a renewable energy future, for the jobs, growth and investment opportunities it brings, not to mention lower power bills and healthy communities too,” she said.

The Homegrown Power Plan is a comprehensive roadmap that sets out how we can transition Australia to the renewable future the majority of people in New England support.

The launch feature Nicky Ison, co author of the Homegrown Power Plan and Senior Research Consultant at the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) and Claire O’Rourke, the National Director of Solar Citizens.

“This event will give everyone a chance to hear about the latest economic and technical modelling and policy recommendations that could see Australia powered by 100% renewable power within a generation.”

All candidates for the seat of New England have been invited. Media are welcome to attend.

Claire O’Rourke is available for interview.

What: New England launch of the Homegrown Power Plan
Where: Cafe 2340, 15B White St, Tamworth, New South Wales
When: This Thursday 9 June @ 6:00pm
RSVP: By clicking here.

Last week’s release of the Solar Scorecard indicated that in the seat of New England, there are 17,730 people of voting age living in homes powered by the sun compared with 18,679 votes needed to swing the seat in the last federal election.

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

 

Want an election win? Target 3 million solar voters

June 2, 2016: Research released today by Solar Citizens, shows 80 per cent of federal electorates contain more voters with solar panels on their roof than the number of voters required to change the sitting member.

The 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. The scorecard also analyses the major parties’ pledges on priority policy areas outlined in the recently released Homegrown Power Plan.
“With just one month to go until polling day, politicians need to be clear that 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,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.
“What this research shows is that both parties need to come out and better address their stance on renewable energy. Three million Australians, or one in five people of voting age, now live under a solar-powered roof, making them an influential and rapidly growing constituency that politicians ignore at their peril.
“Neither of the major parties wants to admit renewable energy is a serious election issue, but poll after poll tells us it is a vote shifter.
“The research shows solar ownership is more prevalent in rural, regional and outer mortgage belt suburbs, where marginal electorates are most prevalent.
“Major parties are always chasing marginal seat wins - if they want to lock in a strong election win, they should actively support the three million voters who support clean energy,” Ms O’Rourke said.
Recent polling shows that 64 per cent of all Australians would be more likely to vote for a party with a policy transition our economy to 100% renewables in the next 20 years.
“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.
“They want to know our federal government is doing the same.
“The jobs and growth mantra lacks any substance without a serious position on renewable energy investment and the public is sick of being played for fools. A report released this week by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) has highlighted the loss in jobs in the renewable energy sector in the 2014-15 financial year following a cut to Australia’s Renewable Energy Target.

“If jobs were really the target, they need look no further than the renewable energy sector which displays real job prospects and innovation as well as a practical response to transitioning our economy away from fossil fuels,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Solar scorecard: www.solarscorecard.org.au
Homegrown Power Plan: www.solarcitizens.org.au/hpp

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

Plan for more renewable energy will bring jobs and energy resilience

Solar Citizens, the peak group representing 5 million solar owners, welcomes the announcement today from the Labor Opposition leader to build 500MW of clean energy over the next 10 years if elected.

“For too long, Tasmania has relied upon the large hydro-power electricity system to supply its electricity needs. But the energy crisis has revealed the need for Tasmania to invest in more new, renewable clean energy such as rooftop solar”, said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

“There are over 69,000 Tasmanians living in solar-powered houses who know the benefits of solar power better than anyone. After all, they’ve invested their own money in order to reduce their electricity bills, produce clean energy and stimulate local jobs”, said O’Rourke

‘Millions of dollars in taxpayers money has been spent dealing with the impacts of the energy crisis. Investment in renewable energy like solar would help ensure this energy crisis is not repeated”, said O’Rourke

“Solar Citizens calls on the Hodgman Government to support the solar industry in Tasmania and provide a vision for building more renewables”

“Recent research undertaken with the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance has shown that the price for solar in Tasmania is vastly undervalued. Ensuring a fair price for solar exports would help stimulate private investment in rooftop solar, creating jobs and ensuring greater resilience in Tasmania’s energy supply” said O’Rourke.

The report ‘Why is solar power undervalued in Tasmania?’ can be found at: http://tasrenew.org.au/solar/fit/

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

Solar Owners welcome more big solar from QLD Govt

Solar Citizens, the peak group representing 5 million solar owners, welcomes the announcement today from Premier Palaszczuk and Energy Minister Mark Bailey to lift the Government’s target of large-scale solar to 120MW.

“Queensland households know the benefits of solar power better than anyone. After all, they’ve invested more of their own money into solar power than any other community in the world. So it’s great to see the Palaszczuk Government lift the large-scale solar target from 60MW to 120MW”, said Claire O’Rourke, National Director with Solar Citizens

“There are over 1.2 million Queenslanders living under solar powered roofs with an installed capacity of 1,400MW. These households know the benefits of installing solar: it helps them take control of their bills; generates local jobs and produces reliable, clean energy”, said O’Rourke.

“This new target complements the Government’s policy of achieving 50% renewable energy in Queensland by 2030 - a very realistic goal given the rate of change in the energy sector which promises to deliver all the benefits clean energy delivers”, said O’Rourke.

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

Community Renewables announcement welcomed by solar owners

Solar Citizens, the peak group representing 5 million solar owners, today welcomes the announcement from Bill Shorten that an ALP Government would dedicate $98.7 million towards Community Power Hubs.

“Five million Australians already enjoy powering their own homes with renewable energy from the sun but there are millions more who would love to join them. Community Power Hubs offers them the opportunity to share in the benefits of clean energy including more jobs and lower power bills,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

“Existing community energy projects such as Hepburn Wind and Repower Shoalhaven have forged a new model of generating, local, clean energy that delivers on jobs and clean energy. But these projects are often made incredibly difficult because of red tape and an outdated electricity system. This funding will help them navigate those hurdles and build more community-owned clean energy”, said O’Rourke.

Solar Citizens is calling on all national political leaders to commit to a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030. We know this is possible and brings huge benefits. The way to achieving this is by:

  • Building big solar
  • Creating a national fair price for solar
  • Funding community owned solar power
  • Protecting the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

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

 

New research: Price for rooftop solar massively undervalued in Tasmania

Newly released research by the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance and Solar Citizens shows that power generated from household solar in Tasmania is worth more than double the current price, holding back an industry that could bolster energy resilience. The analysis of electricity generation, network, health and climate benefits shows solar is worth between 17 and 22c/kWh.
TREA and Solar Citizens have called on Minister for Energy, Matthew Groom to step in and set a fair price for solar.
“A fair price for solar would give Tasmania’s solar industry the boost it desperately needs and would lift jobs, improve energy resilience, provide a fair rate of return and create clean, healthy communities, said Claire O’Rourke, National Director with Solar Citizens.
“The current price paid to solar households is simply unfair, and it’s holding back Tasmania’s solar industry. Currently, solar households receive 6.1c for exported solar. At the same time, grid electricity costs 25c whilst Hydro Tasmania is generating electricity from gas and diesel, sometimes at a cost of between 17 and 30c”, said Jack Gilding, Executive Officer of the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance.
The new research follows a report released last week by Tasmania’s Economic Regulator that failed to see the benefits of solar energy in boosting the State’s employment and energy security. The Regulator has recommended a 7.3c feed-in tariff but acknowledged that it failed to take into account network benefits as well as jobs, energy security and environmental benefits.
In stark contrast, the Victorian Essential Services Commission has recently released a report arguing that the price for exported solar should be increased to account for environmental benefits and benefits brought to the grid.
Matthew Groom is the Minister for Energy, the Minister for State Growth, and the Minister for Environment. He is responsible for energy security, jobs and reducing the environmental damage from fossil fuels.
“The Regulator proposes exactly the same formula as it used three years ago, despite the urgent challenges facing Tasmania energy security and the globally agreed need to rapidly phase out fossil fuels.” said Mr Gilding.
“Tasmanians need their government to see the big picture and take decisive action on supporting renewable energy. Burning diesel and gas, praying for rain and importing dirty Victorian electricity is not an acceptable response to Tasmania’s energy situation .”
Solar Citizens and TREA call on Matthew Groom and the Premier Will Hodgman to intervene now before the Regulator publishes a final rate for 2016-2017 that is expected to be far below the true value solar PV delivers to Tasmania.

A full copy of the report and the graphic below can be found at: www.tasrenew.org.au/fit
Media comment:

Andrew Bradley +61 403 777 137

Solar Citizens welcomes the Australian Greens policy plan for electric vehicles

18 May, 2016: The Australian Greens policy, announced today, on accelerating the electric vehicle (EV) revolution is a welcome and much needed intervention in this Federal Election, and should be a real national conversation starter according to Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

“We are pleased to see the national discussion in this election, we might add on this occasion led by the Greens, moving towards the game changing technology of electric vehicles,” she said.

“EV’s and battery storage are game changing technologies that will put us firmly on the path to 100% clean renewable electricity by 2030.

“Getting the right policy settings in Australia will assist with EV rollout while also preparing for a future where this technology becomes the dominant technology over ‘traditional’ fossil fuel powered transport.

“That future is coming, right around the world, and it is coming fast — and it’s critical that EV’s become everyday vehicles, not get stuck in a niche, luxury vehicle market.” Ms O’Rourke said.

“Setting targets for vehicles on the road, the proposition that the Federal government would cover the costs of state vehicle registration fees for new fully electric vehicles for the first five years, investing in EV charging stations, encouraging fleet uptake at the Government level and for NGO’s are all positive policy interventions.

“We also fully support the idea that the Council of Australian Government's (COAG) should urgently place EV uptake and planning on their standing agenda and aim to develop a policy framework by COAG for EV’s.

“Solar Citizens believes that this would have a significant positive impact on planning at the State and Federal level for the future that is hurtling towards us — a future of our roads buzzing with electric vehicles,” she said.

“Making this transition smooth and in line with the falling costs of EV’s globally obviously requires coherent and smart policy settings.

“So looking at where we are in the election cycle, we can again see the Greens leading the pack, the ALP having a swag of policies that are smart steps in the right direction, and a distinct, and disturbing, lack of policy as yet from the Federal Coalition,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Media Contact:

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