Media - Solar Citizens

Media Releases

WORLD’S LARGEST BRANDS COMMIT TO 100% RENEWABLE GOAL: WILL AUSTRALIA FOLLOW?

Some of the world’s largest brands including the BMW Group and Coca-Cola have announced at the Paris climate talks that they will source 100% of their electricity from renewable energy such as solar.

They take the total number of 100% renewables companies (RE100) to 53, joining diverse brands including Microsoft and Google that have committed in the past week.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said global brands were leading the way in proving 100% clean energy is possible now and makes good sense for both the environment and the budget.

“It is exciting to have massive, mainstream organisations such as Coca-Cola, BMW and IKEA jump on board with the global trend and commit to powering their business by 100% renewable energy,” she said.

“A growing number of companies are ready to play their part in accelerating the world’s move to renewables. Will the Australian government follow their lead?

“If the Turnbull Government is serious about making job creation and innovation their top priority then they need to look no further than solar and renewables.

“The fast-growing renewable energy industry is living up to its potential as a worldwide jobs growth powerhouse - Australia cannot risk missing out.

“Large companies can clearly see a future powered by 100% renewable energy. If our politicians and governments don’t get on board with the revolution they face a very tangible risk of being left in the shade,” said Ms O’Rourke.

Claire O’Rourke is available for interview.

Media contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

Plans for WA ‘sun tax’ condemned by Solar Citizens

Western Australia’s more than 191,000 solar homeowners are angered by a plan from the State-owned electricity provider Synergy to slug solar rooftop owners with an unfair ‘sun tax’.

Solar Citizens Consumer Campaigner, Reece Turner, said the discriminatory charge would hit Western Australian solar homeowners hard and risks holding back investment in cheaper, clean energy.

“Premier Colin Barnett should immediately rule out the idea of a ‘sun tax’ as proposed by Synergy,” he said.

Lyndon Rowe, the Chair of Synergy, has today proposed changes to electricity pricing in West Australia that would mean higher consumers would pay more but would also see solar rooftop owners charged an extra fixed fee in their electricity bill.

“Solar Citizens welcomes efforts to ensure that electricity users are encouraged to use power sensibly but targeting solar households is not the way to go. It’s a ludicrous idea that Premier Barnett should step in and rule out immediately,”

“More than one in five homes are powered by the sun. These people have made the sensible decision to invest in clean, abundant energy and should not be penalised”, Turner said.

“Synergy is looking for a scapegoat to cover up for it’s spiralling budget losses. The reality is that the Government has over invested in electricity generation and network capacity (sometimes called ‘gold plating’) at a time when demand for electricity has been falling. There are estimates that over-investment in West Australia’s electricity system was $3.85bn in 2011-12 alone(1). This cost is ultimately borne by customers”

“There have been good initiatives made by the WA Govt and Synergy recently such as investing in and piloting battery storage and reducing red tape for residences to install their own battery storage.

“ We have seen Similar proposals in South Australia and New South Wales but following public outcry in both cases these charges have been ruled out. The ‘sun tax’ proposal should be binned by Premier Barnett before the ink is dry”, concluded Turner

Media contact: Siobhan Lyttle 0432 828 004

(1) The Sorry State of WA’s Electricity Market Reform, Adam McHugh, The Conversation October 2012 https://theconversation.com/the-sorry-state-of-was-electricity-market-reform-10340

SOLAR POWER IS SUMMER’S SIZZLING SUCCESS STORY

More than 1.4 million homes across Australia will celebrate the start of Summer today and the peak cost savings on their electricity bill from generating energy from their rooftop during the sunniest months of the year.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE FAILS TO STAND UP FOR SOLAR: LOCAL RESIDENTS DISMAYED

Solar Citizens in South Australia have been left disappointed that local member Christopher Pyne refused to take the Stand Up For Solar pledge in a recent meeting.

Solar Citizens members met with one of Mr Pyne’s advisers to talk about how solar was reducing their power bills and asked him for a commitment to:
a national goal of at least 50% renewable energy by 2030;
a fair go for solar owners, including a fair feed-in tariff, no discriminatory fees and a specialist solar ombudsman; and
a national program to help low-income households and renters with soaring power bills to go solar.

After the meeting residents have again contacted the Minister’s office to seek this commitment, however Minister Pyne has failed to commit to a renewable energy goal of at least 50 per cent by 2030.

On Friday, Mr Pyne attacked Opposition leader Bill Shorten's decision to float a possible 45 per cent cut in Australia’s carbon emissions by 2030 as a move that would “smash household budgets and smash the economy”.

“Minister Pyne has chosen to bury his head in the sand on the reality of renewable energy,” said Dan Scaysbrook, Campaigns Director at Solar Citizens.

“It’s disappointing that Minister Pyne has refused to champion the sun powered future the majority of Australians support.

“Everyday community members in his own electorate of Sturt have chosen to invest in rooftop solar as a great way to reduce their power bills and generate cleaner energy.

“The Federal Liberal National Party should, at the very least, match Federal Labor’s commitment to a goal of at least 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. Solar Citizens is calling on Mr Pyne and all LNP members to support this goal.

“As a local member Mr Pyne should be supporting the 12,909 solar homes in his electorate by championing this renewable energy goal - a goal the Australian community actively favours.

“Renewable energy for Australia will create a better future for our children, grow thousands of jobs, lower power bills for Australian families and help them generate clean energy from the sun.

“Over coming months, solar homeowners will be meeting with their local members and asking them to sign the Stand Up For Solar pledge. It’s time their political leaders supported the community and ensured a bright future for solar,” he said.

Media contact: Siobhan Lyttle 0432 828 004

AUSTRALIA MUST MATCH CLEAN ENERGY TECH GROWTH FOR THE FUTURE, WITH STRONGER SOLAR SUPPORT FOR TODAY

Solar Citizens has welcomed media reports that Malcolm Turnbull has signed-up to a multi-billion dollar global innovation plan that would double government investment in clean energy research and development over the next five years.

The initiative would be a strong stride forward for solar and renewable energy in Australia and send a strong signal to investors that the Abbott era attacks on renewable energy were over, according to Campaigns Director Dan Scaysbrook.

“A doubling of government investment in clean energy could fast-track our place in the global renewable energy boom,” he said today.

“While these reports are positive it needs to be attached to a strong domestic renewables policy that reflects community attitudes towards renewables”

“A recent Essential Research poll found 65% of Australians approve of a national target of generating at least 50% of Australia’s power from renewable energy by 2030, while only 16% disapprove.

“More than 1.4 million Australians have invested in rooftop solar and enjoy the clean energy and cost savings it generates. Because of their investment Australia is leading the world when it comes to solar generating clean and affordable energy.

“Australians want political leadership that can deliver cleaner, cheaper energy from solar. They have been promised a new era of support for renewables energy such as solar and now they want urgent action,” he said.

Media contact: Jane Garcia  0434 489 533

AUSTRALIANS BACK GOAL OF AT LEAST 50% RENEWABLES BY 2030

Labor’s renewed commitment today to embrace clean energy and set a goal of at least 50% of renewable energy by 2030 is supported by the majority of Australians.

A recent Essential Research poll found 65% of Australians approve of a national target of generating at least 50% of Australia’s power from renewable energy by 2030, while only 16% disapprove.

Solar Citizens Campaigns Director Dan Scaysbrook said the community had long been calling for more support to grow solar and renewable energy across the nation.

“The Australian community believes in solar and renewables as the smart way of meeting our energy needs now and for ensuring a robust and thriving economy,” he said.

“In setting a new ambitious standard for renewable energy, the Prime Minister would be on a vote winner with the poll showing that 55% of people say they would be more likely to vote for a party that increased Government support for renewable energy.

“Renewable energy from the sun can give Australians control over their power bills, help drive innovation and generate thousands of good local jobs,”

“There’s a global renewables boom taking place and Australia may miss out if we don’t act now to lift our renewable energy ambition. A goal of at least 50 per cent renewables by 2030 would not only slash electricity costs, but would help create 20,000 jobs in the next 15 years.

“Australians want political leadership that can deliver cleaner, cheaper energy from solar. They have been promised a new era of support for renewables energy such as solar and now they want urgent action,” Mr Scaysbrook said.

Media contact: Siobhan Lyttle  0432 828 004

South Australia leads the way towards a clean energy future

Solar Citizens welcomes the South Australian Government's announcement of a transition towards a low carbon economy with a report released today recommending a road map to South Australia being powered by 100 per cent renewable energy.

Campaigns Director Dan Scaysbrook said South Australia was at the forefront of solar and wind energy development in Australia, with renewables already meeting 100% of the state's electricity needs for a whole working day last year.

“The Weatherill Government has today announced they will adopt recommendations from the Low Carbon Economy Expert Panel and we look forward to seeing this exciting plan being implemented across South Australia,” he said.

“A global race towards a renewable future is on and South Australia has today pulled ahead with this 100% “low carbon economy” commitment.

“An impressive 1 in 4 households in SA have rooftop solar and the power they generate currently meets about 5% of SA's total electricity demand. The idea by the expert report to have a solar panel on every rooftop will be particularly welcome by Solar Citizens and the public as demonstrated in consistent polling.

“The expert panel has recommended the government aim higher, setting a goal of 100% renewable electricity, pointing out this can happen "relatively quickly" and that SA can become a net exporter of renewables.

“The report provides South Australia with a comprehensive plan of how it can share in the global boom in renewables The task for the Government is to turn this into a reality by introducing laws that delivers on the report’s action plan.

"The South Australian Government can start to deliver on this commitment by ruling out the 'solar tax' proposed by SA Power Networks and setting a minimum, fair feed-in price for solar owners when they export surplus electricity back to the grid.

“Australians are ready for the jobs, opportunities and savings on power bills that solar and other renewable energy technologies deliver, it’s time for the Government to hit the accelerator,” he said.

Media contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

WILL AUSTRALIA CASH IN OR MISS OUT ON THE GLOBAL RENEWABLE ENERGY BOOM?

A new report released by the Climate Council today reveals the world is in the middle of a dramatic renewable energy boom, with clean energy investment growing 43% since 2009 worldwide.

Solar Citizens Campaigns Director Dan Scaysbrook said Australia has some of the best solar resources in the world and government should be investing in making the transition to renewables.

“The fast-growing renewable energy industry is living up to its potential as a worldwide jobs growth powerhouse,” he said.

“This new report shows more than 160 countries have put in place targets to grow their renewable power.

“Australia may miss out if we don’t act now to lift our renewable energy ambition. A goal of at least 50 per cent renewables by 2030 would not only slash electricity costs, but would help create 20,000 jobs in the next 15 years.

“Growing solar and renewables would allow Australia to access jobs, innovation, future industries.

“If the Turnbull Government is serious about making job creation and innovation their top priority then they need to look no further than solar and renewables.

“The upcoming Paris climate talks are an ideal opportunity for the Prime Minister to show it will listen to the community and put jobs in solar and renewables first.

“There’s a bright future ahead for renewables, Australia deserves a leading part in it,” he said.

Media contact: Siobhan Lyttle 0432 828 004

Queensland solar homes want rapid uptake of batteries to power homes for longer: new survey

Home battery storage is set to revolutionise the way homes and cars get their energy, and Queensland’s solar homeowners want their state to lead the charge.

A survey released today of nearly 700 solar owners in Queensland found 92% of people want the State Government to introduce a support program to kick start the battery storage industry in the state.

Queensland solar homeowners also want to see:
- a fair feed-in price for solar generated on their rooftops exported to the grid and
- an end to the increasing network charges that help make Australian electricity bills amongst the highest in the world.

Solar Citizens Consumer Campaigner Reece Turner said solar homeowners see solar batteries, coupled with rooftop PV, as an exciting opportunity to generate clean power and save on bills -- it is time Government did the same.

“The Queensland survey confirms the thinking of global companies like Tesla and Panasonic that there is a huge demand for connecting solar panels with home batteries for power storage,” Mr Turner said today.

“There are more than 1.4 million homes that have installed rooftop solar to help with the cost of living and there are positive predictions that as prices fall, they will be a key market for solar storage.

“A recent Climate Council Report predicts Australia's installed battery capacity will grow 50-fold within 10 years, with half of all households to have battery storage, and many using their solar arrays to charge their electric vehicles.

“Solar Citizens is calling on the Queensland Government to support this bright future with policy that encourages the take-up of household batteries to complement the Sunshine State's leading position as Australia's solar rooftop leader.

“The Palaszczuk Government has already committed to 1 million solar rooftops in QLD by 2020. It would be incredible if they could match this with support for every one of those homes to invest in home battery storage as well.

“By using clean energy from the wind and sun, we can create healthy cities and towns, good jobs and smart investments - and a happy surprise when we open our power bills,” Mr Turner said.

View survey results and methodology here: https://drive.google.com/a/solarcitizens.org.au/file/d/0B9kNVP3oyB-ceGJPN25CeGl1R3c/view?usp=sharing

Media contact: Siobhan Lyttle 0432 828 004

NSW GOVERNMENT MUST LEGISLATE TO PREVENT DISCRIMINATION AGAINST SOLAR HOMEOWNERS

The NSW Government should rule out any plan by the State Government-owned electricity networks for a new charge on solar homes, according to Solar Citizens.

Following a Channel 7 news story last night, the networks claim they will move away from a proposed ‘sun tax’ but legislation would give solar homeowners greater certainty, said Reece Turner, Consumer Campaigner at Solar Citizens.

“The NSW Premier Mike Baird should act swiftly to legislate against networks imposing fees that discriminate against solar households,” he said

“The Baird Government has often claimed it wants to make NSW ”Australia’s answer to California when it comes to clean energy’ but this kind of tax on the sun will send us back to the dark ages.

“More than 319,000 households in NSW have taken the very sensible decision to invest in solar power, allowing them to take control of escalating electricity bills, generate clean energy and reduce demand on the electricity grid. The top 10 postcodes for solar installations in NSW are all in regional areas with lower than average income.

“They should not be penalised with an additional charge by the networks who have failed to plan for the rising popularity of rooftop solar.

“Across Australia electricity networks are increasingly targeting solar owners as a way to claw back profits from households who have decided to take rising electricity costs in their own hands. The privatised South Australian network monopoly SA Power Networks has pushed for an additional $100 fee for solar owners.

“The Baird Government should ensure the state’s solar homes are supported, not taxed,” he said.

Media contact: Siobhan Lyttle 0432 828 004