Government misses prime opportunity for decades of energy bill relief through increased investment in renewables, solar and electrification - Solar Citizens

Government misses prime opportunity for decades of energy bill relief through increased investment in renewables, solar and electrification

Solar Citizens has welcomed the Federal Budget’s focus on making Australia a renewable energy powerhouse through local manufacture of solar and batteries, but is disappointed the government missed a prime opportunity for increased investment in support for households currently locked out of renewable energy to access solar and batteries.

Support for more Australians to access household solar and batteries would provide two decades of energy bill relief, replace aging coal-fired power plants, and circumvent the need for controversial investment in fossil gas.  

The Federal Budget includes energy bill rebates and a focus on Australia taking advantage of global shift to net zero with Future Made in Australia investment of $22.7 billion over a decade.

This includes $1.4 billion over 11 years to strengthen battery and solar panel supply chains via the Solar Sunshot Program and Battery Breakthrough Initiative.

In addition,the Budget confirmed funding announced last year:

  • support measures for removing barriers for those who have been locked out of access to renewable energy, including for apartments, with $81.8 million in renewable energy for people in apartments through Community Solar Banks; and

  • $69.9 million for energy efficiency including solar power for social housing residents.

Solar Citizens CEO Heidi Lee Douglas said, “This Federal Budget recognised energy bills are an important form of cost-of-living relief, yet missed the opportunity to provide households and small businesses with longer-term relief through greater support for rooftop solar and household batteries.

“While we acknowledge many Australians will be seeking immediate power bill relief, government support for solar panels and home batteries would continue to deliver savings for up to 20 years.”

Recent analysis commissioned by Solar Citizens and conducted by the Australian PV Institute at the University of NSW found:

  •  a massive $9.3 billion per year in potential cost savings for Australians if people living in apartments or houses with more space for solar panels were supported to install more rooftop solar; and 

  • Closing the solar potential gap would create 240,000 additional job-years of employment in the solar sales and installation industry, equivalent to employing 48,000 people for five years; and

  • It would deliver an average annual household bill savings of $1,390 each year continuing for the operational lifetime of the solar PV systems, usually 20 years or more.

“A new burst of Federal Government investment in household solar will help bring cost of living relief, provide cheaper, cleaner energy for households and small businesses, and reinvigorate local manufacturing.

“Rooftop solar provides the most economical possible energy to customers and everyone in Australia should have access to the cost-saving benefits of solar, regardless of their postcode, or whether they rent or live in an apartment or social housing.”

“This budget also has focus and investment in making it local, and ensuring the growing demand for household solar and batteries is matched with making the technology here.

“Domestically manufactured solar panels provide more transparency of supply chains and product quality and safety. The development of local panel manufacturing will provide more consumer confidence and help fuel further increases in rooftop solar uptake across the country,” Ms Douglas said.

Solar Citizen’s 2024-25 Federal Pre-Budget Submission is available here

View full Rooftop Solar Potential of Australian Housing Stock by Tenure and Dwelling Type report here