Media - Solar Citizens

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Win for WA solar: Premier rules out unfair 'sun tax'

WA Premier Colin Barnett has told State parliament today that he would rule out a tax on solar power, a win for the state’s more than 175,000 solar households, according to reports.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said the Government’s backdown came after a strong community campaign against the unfair proposed charges including a Solar Citizens petition - signed by close to 7,000 supporters.

“This backdown on the proposed “solar tax” ensures a bright future for renewable energy in Western Australia,” she said.

“There are more Western Australian families every day discovering the cost savings that solar power can deliver.

“Solar is good for household budgets, drives good local jobs and can sparks economic growth, particularly vital as the state budget is hit by the end of the mining boom.

“Solar households are most common in lower income suburbs. The main reason these families go solar is to help with the rising cost of power bills.

"In the process these solar powered homes reduce the need for expensive new poles and wires, stimulate jobs in the renewable energy industry and create clean, cheap energy that helps all Australians.

“The WA Premier has taken a great step forward today, now he should lift his ambition and support a full transition to clean renewable energy in the State,” she said.

Claire O’Rourke is available for interview.

Media contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

BENEFITS OF SOLAR FAR OUTWEIGH THE RISKS OF NUCLEAR

BENEFITS OF SOLAR FAR OUTWEIGH THE RISKS OF NUCLEAR

Solar Citizens calls on the South Australian Government to harness the sun to generate low-cost clean energy and kick-start jobs and economic growth rather than becoming a dumping ground for an expensive, toxic nuclear waste.

The findings come as new polling released today shows a majority of voters are more likely to give their vote in the upcoming election to a party supporting ambitious goals and innovation for solar”[1]

The preliminary findings of a Royal Commission into nuclear claim that:

  • An expansion of uranium mining is “not the most significant opportunity” to develop South Australia’s economy
  • “It would not be commercially viable to generate electricity from a nuclear power plant in South Australia in the foreseeable future.”
  • Storage and disposal of nuclear fuel waste is “likely” to deliver economic benefits to the State.

“We welcome the Commission’s findings which shows that nuclear mining and power generation is not the solution for South Australia”, said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

“The best way the South Australian Government can support clean energy is supporting households in making the transition to solar energy and reducing people’s power bills. The South Australian Government is leading other states with a target of 50% renewable energy by 2025 and has commissioned research which shows it can get to 100% renewable energy as part of its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 ”

“One in four households in South Australia now has rooftop solar and the power they generate from the sun supplies about five per cent of the state’s energy demand.

“These 190,000 South Australian solar homes are only the beginning of the global solar boom, as affordable, reliable home battery storage places lowering the cost of power bills in reach for the majority of households.

“It is important that the State Government makes sure it adopts policies that encourage further investment in renewables, and the jobs this will create.

“The state’s abundant solar resources have already caught the attention of US solar thermal giant SolarReserve, which in November made a bid to build Australia’s first-ever solar thermal plant with storage in Port Augusta.

Media contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

[1] https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9kNVP3oyB-cQ2NQbnROWVlrUjIxbW1TaUhxTlpKZlNkNHNB/view?usp=sharing

FEDERAL ELECTION HEATS UP: NEW POLL FINDS SOLAR INNOVATION A VOTE SHIFTER FOR MAJORITY OF AUSTRALIANS

FEDERAL ELECTION HEATS UP: NEW POLL FINDS SOLAR INNOVATION A VOTE SHIFTER FOR MAJORITY OF AUSTRALIANS

The majority of Australians are more likely to give their vote in the upcoming election to a party supporting ambitious goals and innovation for solar, according to a new national poll.

Community organisation Solar Citizens commissioned research by Essential that found:
• 63% of Australians would be more likely to vote for party with a policy to ensure solar is installed on every home that is suitable and on buildings like hospitals and schools;
• 60% would vote for a policy that helps people get battery storage so solar can be used around the clock; and
• 59% would support a party with a commitment to invest in large-scale solar and wind.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said the community’s desire for a new chapter for renewable and energy policy in Australia had reached new heights.

“Australians want political leadership that will deliver cleaner, cheaper energy from the sun - and they’re willing to use their vote to make it happen,” she said.

“For far too long there has been a disconnect between what Australians want and what our political leaders have delivered. The poll shows Australians know politicians will be listening in the lead-up to a Federal election. Australian voters want more ambitious solar policies firmly on the agenda.

“The way we use energy is changing, with families and businesses wanting to harness the power of the sun, store the clean energy for when it's needed and reap the benefits of lower power bills and energy independence.

“A renewables boom is gathering momentum, with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimating renewable energy could deliver $A1.9 trillion of benefits to the global economy by 2030.

“Australians want political leaders who can help our nation become a global leader in renewables and solar, and grab its fair share of the jobs, economic growth and innovation,” she said.

Hundreds of community members from across Australia are gathered in Brisbane for the first-of-its kind three-day event promoting a clean energy future for Australia.

Solar Supercharge will spark the next phase of a grassroots, Australia-wide campaign to put solar and renewables at the top of the national agenda in the lead-up to the 2016 election.

 

Media contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

Highlights of Solar Supercharge, 15 February


1) Political Forum featuring Shadow Minister for the Environment Mark Butler (via video), Independent Queensland Senator Glenn Lazarus and Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters.
11.30am. Mon 15 February

2) Simon Hackett on disrupting the system, the coming battery storage revolution. Simon is the executive chairman of the board of Redflow, a Brisbane battery start up that’s ’taking on’ Tesla.
Within 10 years, Simon predicts, battery storage will be as commonplace in homes and businesses as broadband, which barely existed in 2000 but was widespread just a decade later in 2010.
1.30pm. Mon 15 February

3) Rhonda Nowakowski, Brisbane Solar Citizens team member and solar worker, on her journey from solar worker to activist.
Following talk by Simon Hackett from 1.30pm. Mon 15 February

4) Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke on:
- the state of solar in Queensland/Australia. Challenges, Opportunities and how we compare to the rest of the world
- a renewables boom is gathering momentum, with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimating renewable energy could deliver $A1.9 trillion of benefits to the global economy by 2030.
How can Australia claim its share of jobs and economic growth?
- the rise of the solar voter and what they want from their political leaders. In many marginal Federal electorates, the number of people living in homes with rooftop solar outnumbers the number of voters that will decide that electorate - food for thought.

Solar Supercharge: National Action Summit for Clean Energy 13-15 February, Brisbane

Hundreds of community members from across Australia will gather in Brisbane next week for a first-of-its kind three-day event promoting a clean energy future for Australia.

Claire O’Rourke, National Director for event organiser Solar Citizens, said Solar Supercharge will spark the next phase of a grassroots, Australia-wide campaign to put solar and renewables at the top of the agenda in the lead-up to the 2016 election.

“Poll after poll demonstrates a strong and enduring support for renewable energy from everyday people across all political persuasions,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“People love solar and are concerned about the economy, jobs and the cost of living. Renewable energy will generate jobs and economic growth, drive down the cost of living by reducing power bills and help build a modern, innovative power system.

“The 2016 election is shaping up as a critical opportunity for Australian political leaders to demonstrate they have the vision and willpower for the nation to grasp the opportunities of the global renewable energy boom and enjoy the local benefits.

“Our political leaders are on notice: solar votes have the power to decide the next election.

“Householders want a fair deal on solar and they place politicians in all electorates across Australia on notice. The gathering in Brisbane next week is the first step towards the bright future for clean energy voters want to see,” she said.

Details
What: Solar Supercharge National Action Summit for a Clean Energy Future
When: 13-15 February
Where: Brisbane, Queensland
Program highlights include:
• Claire O’Rourke, Solar Citizens National Director
• Simon Hackett, Executive Chairman of the Redflow board, on disrupting the system - the coming battery storage revolution
• Political Forum featuring Shadow Minister for the Environment Mark Butler (via video), Independent Queensland Senator Glenn Lazarus And Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters (Mon 15 Feb)
• Miriam Lyons, policy analyst and Clean Energy Campaigner at GetUp! on understanding Australia’s renewable energy policies
Program: http://bit.ly/1mgXXGw
Sponsors: Queensland University of Technology, GoZero, Roofjuice, GetUp and Greenpower

Media are welcome to attend Plenary Sessions and Political Forum. Please RSVP to jane.garcia@essentialmedia.com.au

Media contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

SLASHING QLD FEED-IN PRICE WOULD BE CLEAR DISCRIMINATION AGAINST SOLAR HOMEOWNERS

Solar Citizens calls on the Qld Government to remain firm in its commitment to support Queensland households that have chosen to invest in solar to take control of rising power bills.

National Director Claire O’Rourke said the Palaszczuk Government was voted in with a commitment to a fair price for solar homes owners, which is something 420,000 Queensland solar families support. A cut in the solar tariff would be a huge step backwards for the Sunshine State.

“Solar power early adopters helped kick-start the solar revolution in Queensland stimulating an industry that is leading Australia and the envy of the cleantech world. These pioneers paid five times or more what a system costs today out of their own pocket and are yet to pay off their systems,” she said.

“The fact is, the majority of the average electricity bill in Queensland is network charges, the poles and wires, that often makes up more than 50% of the total bill. This was driven by the massive overspending on poles and wires, known as ‘gold-plating’ of the electricity grid”.

“Laying blame on solar owners for a rise in power bills is misguided to say the least. Australians want more solar and renewables, not less and people overwhelmingly want to see clean energy supported.

“The uptake of solar is highest in low-medium income suburbs - the main reason these families go solar is to help with the rising cost of power bills and most early adopters are yet to have paid off their system

“The Palaszczuk Government was elected on a strong solar platform promising to honour the solar bonus scheme, support a target of 1 million solar rooftops and 50% renewable energy by 2030.

“We commend the Palaszczuk Government on these policies, which will help keep Queensland out in front on the race to clean, renewable power,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Media contact: Siobhan Lyttle 0432 828 004

QLD GOVERNMENT SHOULD REJECT ATTACKS ON SOLAR AND SUPPORT A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY: PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION REPORT

QLD GOVERNMENT SHOULD REJECT ATTACKS ON SOLAR AND SUPPORT A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY: PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION REPORT

Solar Citizens urges the Palaszczuk Government to reject a return to Newman-era attacks on solar and reaffirm its commitment to solar power in Queensland, following the release today of a draft report by the state’s Productivity Commission.

Reece Turner, Consumer Campaigner with Solar Citizens, said the report completely fails to understand the opportunities of the solar revolution happening worldwide and across Australia. Its outdated recommendations call on the Government to tear up election promises to support the growth of solar and the cost savings it can bring on household electricity bills.

“The Productivity Commission report may well have found resonance in the 1950s but it is embarrassingly inadequate and out of touch for meeting power needs in the modern, 21st century,” he said.

“Queenslanders are on the frontline of installing rooftop solar with more than 440,000 homes powered by the sun -- the Government shouldn’t be holding them back.

“Whilst the report acknowledges that Queensland electricity prices have nearly doubled in the past decade as a result of network over-spends and “gold-plating” of our poles and wires infrastructure, the Commission has disparaged the solar and renewables industry which is allowing customers a means to shield themselves from electricity hikes.

“Solar Citizens welcomes the Government’s commitment to ensure the legacy Solar Bonus Scheme is not abandoned but Minister for Energy, Mark Bailey, must go further to provide security for solar owners and the large-scale solar industry.

Solar Citizens urges the Government to clearly reaffirm its solar and renewable energy policies including the objective of 1 million solar roofs and 50% renewables by 2030 and asks the Government to consider re-writing the Productivity Commission's terms of reference to ensure it makes a valuable contribution to a renewable energy transition.

Media contact: Siobhan Lyttle 0432 828 004

Notes
*‘Solar power station in Collinsville could be under construction this year’ ABC Rural news 2 February 2016 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-02/ratch-australia-collinsville-solar-project-could-begin-this-year/7132424

QLD Productivity Commission Report available at: http://www.qpc.qld.gov.au/files/uploads/2016/02/EPI-DRAFT-REPORT-Final.pdf

RENEWABLES WILL ADD A$1.9 TRILLION TO ECONOMY: AUSTRALIA SHOULD GRAB ITS SHARE OF THE BOOM

A study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) released yesterday reveals renewable energy could deliver $A1.9 trillion of benefits to the global economy by 2030, sparking new jobs and opportunities for economic growth. https://goo.gl/eCKg3F

IRENA found renewable energy targets are now in place in 164 countries and the sector already employs about 9.2 million people globally.

Solar Citizens Campaigns Director, Dan Scaysbrook, said the IRENA report shows that the potential benefits of the solar revolution is massive but the government needs to deliver reforms to ensure Australia claims its share of investment and jobs.

“Renewable energy is powering ahead -- A$1.9 trillion worth of benefits is an incredible step for showing the power of renewables to generate wealth and employment, while lowering the cost of electricity and producing cleaner energy,” he said.

“The Turnbull Government must seize the opportunity to put Australia on a pathway to the clean energy future supported by the majority of Australians.

“It’s time our Government woke up to the fact that business and community are 10 steps ahead of them, and we need to catch up fast.

“Australians want political leadership that can deliver cleaner, cheaper energy from solar.

“The report shows solar PV was the largest creator of jobs, accounting for 2.5 million jobs worldwide in 2014. Here on the sunniest continent on earth, the majority of Australians want to see more solar and renewables, not less.

“Australians want obstacles to further investment in household solar removed including an end to unfair solar taxes, a fair price for solar electricity exported to the grid and stopping attempts by the big power companies to hold back battery storage.

“A strong, healthy economy relies on renewable energy, we need the Turnbull government to invest more in renewable and solar and make sure Australia grabs our share of this global boom,” Mr Scaysbrook said.

Media contact: Siobhan Lyttle 0432 828 004

Australian investment in large-scale solar falling behind, while rooftop installs power ahead

The Abbott government’s attack on renewable energy has contributed to investment in large-scale renewable energy projects in Australia stalling at one-third of what is needed to meet the 2020 Renewable Energy Target, as revealed in new figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

While investors have been left with uncertainty over funding large-scale renewables, everyday Australian households are making an investment in rooftop solar as a way of reducing their electricity bills, according to Solar Citizens Campaigns Director, Dan Scaysbrook.

“More than one in five homes are powered by the sun. These people have made the sensible decision to invest in rooftop solar as a great way to reduce their power bills and generate cleaner energy,” Mr Scaysbrook said.

“The Australian community believes in solar and renewables as the energy of the future and believes it can power a robust and thriving economy.

“Australians want political leadership that can deliver cleaner, cheaper energy from solar.

“They want obstacles to further investment in household solar removed including an end to unfair solar taxes and the stopping of attempts by the big power companies to hold back battery storage.

“Polling tells us the majority of Australians also want increased investment in large-scale renewable energy projects.

“Solar is also the preferred energy source of more than 80 per cent of Australians, according to 2015 research by The Climate Institute.

“The Turnbull Government has the opportunity to put Australia on a pathway to the clean energy future supported by the majority of Australians.

“Growing renewable energy will grow thousands of jobs, lower power bills for Australian families and create a better future for our children,” he said.

Media contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

Win for SA solar: Court rejects 'solar tax'

The Federal Court has today ruled in favour of South Australia’s solar households, supporting the Australian Energy Regulator’s decision to stop SA Power Networks gouging solar rooftop owners.

Justice Mansfield dismissed the appeal from SAPN against the AER’s earlier decision to disallow the introduction of a new, higher tariff on solar owners. Solar Citizens supported the Total Environment Centre’s intervention in the case.

Solar Citizens Consumer Campaigner Reece Turner said South Australians clearly love solar and expect that they won’t be subjected to unfair charges.

“This court decision today protects solar homeowners from South Australian Power Networks trying to push unfair fees onto the solar community by any means possible,” Turner said.

“It’s a sensible outcome to stop SA Power Networks from charging solar households an average of $100 per year. South Australia is home to more than 190,000 solar homes with more families going solar every day.”

“These are households who have decided to beat the rising costs of electricity by taking power generation into their own hands. Solar households are most common in lower income suburbs. The main reason these families go solar is to help with the rising cost of power bills.”

"In the process these solar powered homes reduce the need for expensive new poles and wires, stimulate jobs in the renewable energy industry and create clean, cheap energy that helps all Australians.”

Mark Byrne, energy market advocate at the Total Environment Centre, explained that “This Federal Court decision places all electricity networks across Australia on notice that they cannot unfairly charge solar households more to cover the cost of their poor planning for a changing electricity network.”

Reece Turner from Solar Citizens is available for interview on 0450 466 040
Mark Byrne from TEC is available for interview on 0403070442.

ACT leaders urged to stay ahead on energy innovation, public transport and renewables

PRESS CONFERENCE

11.00AM. THURS, 17 DEC 2015

ACT ASSEMBLY FORECOURT

A television advertisement launched today calls on the ACT’s major party leaders to put aside politics and support policies that have put the Territory at the forefront of clean energy, public transport and climate action.

The ‘Go ACT’ advertisement features six ACT locals speaking in support of renewable energy, divestment from fossil fuels and light rail.

Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens said, ‘The ACT’s suite of policies put the Territory at the head of the race to 100% renewable power in Australia. Strong support for solar has meant that more than 16,000 households are saving on their bills with solar PV systems. Polls consistently show that eight in ten people here and around Australia support clean energy.’

Miriam Lyons, GetUp’s Clean Energy Campaigner said, ‘The ACT is leading the country when it comes to reducing pollution and energy innovation. Voters in the ACT want their city to keep a positive agenda investing in renewables and public transport. Political leaders must commit to protecting these big, long-term decisions that are preparing a growing ACT to thrive in a clean energy future.’

Andy Jennings, President of Fair Go for Canberra said, ‘All political parties should embrace these important and widely supported policies. This will send a signal to Canberrans that these positive, responsible policies have the rock-solid support of all sides of politics. The public are sick of games and negativity.’

The ACT policies which the groups highlight in the advertisement are

  • Purchasing 100% renewable power for the ACT by 2025

  • Divestment of ACT Government shareholdings in 60 major fossil fuel companies

  • Major public transport infrastructure investment in light rail

  • Investment in bike paths

Solar Citizens, GetUp and Fair Go for Canberra have jointly produced the advertisement, which begins airing today on PRIME and WIN and will also be run on Facebook and other websites up to Christmas.

The three groups will today hand deliver letters to Chief Minister Andrew Barr, Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson and ACT Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury, requesting a meeting in the new year to discuss the policy platforms the parties will put to ACT voters at the election. The ACT election will be held on 15 October 2016, in the same year as the next federal election.

The advertisement can be viewed at: http://www.solarcitizens.org.au/goact 

Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404