Media - Solar Citizens

Media Releases

Community groups support attempt to stop electricity price gouging in South Australia

The Total Environment Centre, supported by Solar Citizens, will today apply to the Federal Court to support the defence of a ruling by the Australian Energy Regulator to stop South Australian Power Networks gouging solar rooftop owners.

“Earlier this year SA Power Networks applied to bring in a new tariff for solar households which would have cost them an average of $100 per year. This was sensibly rejected by the regulator”, said Mark Byrne, energy market advocate at the Total Environment Centre.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA POWERS AHEAD WITH 100% LOW CARBON POWER GOAL

Solar Citizens has welcomed the South Australian Government’s announcement today of a goal to power the state government by 100% “low carbon electricity”.

National Director Claire O’Rourke said Premier Jay Wetherill had acted ahead of upcoming Paris climate talks to seize the huge opportunity provided by renewable energy to grow jobs, promote innovation and help make a better future for our children. 

GEORGE CHRISTENSEN FAILS TO STAND UP FOR SOLAR: LOCAL RESIDENTS DISMAYED

Local residents in the seat of Dawson are disappointed that local member George Christensen refused to take the Stand Up For Solar pledge in a meeting on Friday.

Solar Citizens members met with Mr Christensen to talk to him 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.

UNFAIR HIKE IN NETWORK CHARGES HITS QLD SOLAR HOMEOWNERS

An ABC Radio National investigation[1] yesterday confirmed what many Queensland solar households have experienced first-hand - ‘network charges’ on Australian electricity bills are among the highest in the world.

Solar households across Queensland reported shock as they opened their electricity bills from July 1 and found out they had been slugged up to $428 per year for ‘fixed’ electricity network charges.

MINISTER HUNT: WALK THE TALK WITH INVESTMENT IN RENEWABLE ENERGY SAY SOLAR CITIZENS

Solar Citizens has welcomed reports that the Federal Environment Minister will tell an energy conference in Shanghai today that Australia will promote more renewable energy sources like solar and wind.

The majority of the community, solar homeowners and the solar industry became fed up with the Abbott era tactic of playing politics with renewable energy and are looking for leadership and ambition, according to Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke.

Port Augusta offers bright solar future for South Australia

Reports that US solar thermal giant SolarReserve has made a bid to build Australia’s first-ever solar thermal plant with storage in Port Augusta is a fantastic step towards the national goal of at least 50% renewable energy by 2030, according to Solar Citizens.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said the project is an exciting example of the enormous potential of solar power in Australia, and is a testament to the local community’s long-running campaign for renewable energy.

New Queensland Solar Farm an important step for Sunshine State

Solar Citizens today welcomed the Queensland Government’s announcement that it will approve one of Australia’s largest proposed solar farms with the ability to power 65,000 Queensland homes.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said that the Clare solar farm, that will have 238 hectares of PV panels, demonstrates Queensland is ideally placed to invest in renewable energy, create jobs and produce clean power from a plentiful natural resource.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates that Queensland understands the benefits of renewable energy and solar,” said Ms O’Rourke.

“This is an important project for the state and will help Queensland to make the most of its prime position as the “Sunshine State”, but more opportunities exist. There is still much more that must be done to ensure Queenslanders can fully realise the bright and sunny future that solar power offers.

“Queenslanders love their solar - more than 454,000 households have installed solar power so far. It’s encouraging to hear that the State government is moving ahead with its support for solar and renewable energy.

“During the Queensland Election the State ALP released A Solar Future, a policy that includes a commitment to determining a fair Feed-in Tariff and a goal of 1 million solar rooftops in Queensland by 2020. Solar Citizens across Queensland want to see these policies implemented.

“More than 600 Queensland Solar Citizens wrote to the government following the election calling on them them to keep their promises of support for solar and renewables.

“Queensland has also committed to a goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030, a policy that will help create jobs and encourage investment.

“Despite these commitments, Queenslanders have seen fixed price increases of up to 20 per cent on their electricity bills, meaning all consumers will pay up to $428 per year just to access the grid, regardless of whether they have solar or not.

“Large scale solar is key to transitioning Queensland to a clean energy future, but the State needs to do more to prevent bill shock,” said Ms O’Rourke.

For more information contact Siobhan Lyttle: 0432 828 004

Local MP Nickolas Varvaris yet to take Stand Up For Solar pledge

Residents in the seat of Barton have met with their local member Nickolas Varvaris and asked him to take pledge to Stand Up For Solar.

In productive discussions Mr Varvaris was personally supportive of solar, but held back on making a full commitment to a renewable energy goal of at least 50% by 2030.

Community members asked Mr Varvaris to commit 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.

Local residents have shown leadership and savvy by investing in rooftop solar and were looking for support from their local member.

“Everyday community members in Barton have chosen to invest in rooftop solar as a great way to reduce their power bills and generate cleaner energy,” said Dan Scaysbrook, Campaigns Director at Solar Citizens.

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

“As a local member Mr Varvaris should be supporting the 2,641 solar homes in his electorate by championing this renewable energy goal.

“This community loves solar power and is looking for commitment and active support from the local MP too.

“Renewable energy can create thousands of jobs, lower power bills for Australian families and help them generate clean energy.

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

Dan Scaysbrook and local residents are available for interview.

Media contact: Siobhan Lyttle 0432 828 004

AUSTRALIA AND ITS PACIFIC NEIGHBOURS AGREE TO DOUBLE RENEWABLE ENERGY BY 2030


Solar Citizens has welcomed the agreement by the 21 member countries of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), including Australia, to double renewable energy by 2030.

The Ministerial statement at the conclusion of this week’s meeting states:

We will strive to attain APEC’s aspirational goal of doubling the share of renewables in the APEC energy mix, including in power generation, from 2010 levels by 2030 [1]

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said this agreement helps pave the way for Australia to become a solar powerhouse, exporting its expertise and innovation in solar energy to help APEC member countries meet their goals.

APEC countries include Australia’s near-neighbours of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, as well as the large economies of China, Japan and the United States.

“The APEC agreement to double renewable energy by 2030 shows that the solar revolution is in full motion with substantial market opportunities for solar investment in the Pacific region and at home,” she said.

“Solar Citizens calls on Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg to recognise Australia is being left behind and act immediately to set down a more ambitious solar and renewable energy goal of at least 50% by 2030.

“Australia has passed through a difficult time where bad policy and attacks on solar have held back its potential. 

“Australians have been calling on the Government to act in support of renewable energy and solar power. Now it’s time for a strong commitment from the Turnbull government that gives investors certainty and unlocks the jobs and economic potential of this twenty-first century power source.

“Renewable energy can create thousands of jobs, lower power bills for Australian families and build export opportunities in skills and knowledge,” she said.

Media contact: Jane Garcia  0434 489 533

NO EXCUSE MINISTER HUNT: TIME FOR ACTION TO UNLOCK POTENTIAL FOR SOLAR

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has told industry today that there is "no excuse" not to embrace renewable energy.

Now he should turn words into action and commit the Government to a goal of at least 50% renewable energy by 2030, according to Solar Citizens.

“We agree - there are no excuses to avoid the exciting renewable energy revolution that is in front of our nation,” Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said.

“The Environment Minister’s efforts to spruik renewable energy are a breath of fresh air and a big change in rhetoric from the attacks on solar power seen under the Abbott Government,” she said.

“Now Minister Hunt should match his words with decisive action and beat the new baseline for renewable energy, which is a realistic goal of at least 50% by 2030.

“Renewable energy can lower power bills for Australian families while creating thousands of jobs and driving innovation.

“Australians want political leadership that can deliver cleaner, cheaper energy from solar that means a safe and healthy future for all of us. They have been promised a new era of support for renewable energy such as solar and want to see tangible action.

“Opportunities to grow jobs and investment were lost during the two-year attack on renewables. Our nation urgently need concrete support and orderly plans from the Government so we can move to a bright future for solar and renewable energy,” she said.

Media contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

Solar Citizens members are meeting with local MPs over coming weeks and asking them to sign a pledge supporting Stand Up For Solar key asks:

1. A strong solar and renewables goal
Australians want to see more solar and renewables, not less. A national goal of at least 50% of our energy generated by renewables by 2030 will help millions of families go solar, create tens of thousands of jobs and ensure billions in investment for our sunny country.

2. A fair go for solar owners
Going solar should be easy but big power companies simply aren’t playing fair. We want to see an end to discriminatory fees for solar owners, a fair feed in tariff for power fed back into the grid and a specialist solar ombudsman to protect consumers’ rights in every state and territory.

3. Helping households with soaring power bills
The only guaranteed way people can take control of spiralling power costs is by installing solar. We want to see a strong national program to support low-income households and renters switch to solar and help with the rising cost of living.
www.standupforsolar.org.au