Media - Solar Citizens

Media Releases

Stronger Climate Action Means More Regional Queensland Jobs

Media release 13 January 2021: Stronger Climate Action Means More Regional Jobs

As international pressure builds for the Australian Government to adopt more ambitious climate and clean energy targets, new analysis from community group Solar Citizens shows fast-tracking the energy transition could create an extra 22,000 construction and installation job years in Queensland by 2030 compared with business as usual.

The job figures, based on future scenario modelling from the Australian Energy Market Operator, take into account additional jobs that could be created in small and large-scale solar, wind and household batteries if Australia embraces stronger emission reduction targets.

“Turbocharging Queensland’s rollout of renewable energy could see a total of 44,000 clean energy job years created in the installation of solar, wind and distributed storage by 2030 as well as an additional 2,000 jobs in operations and maintenance,” said Solar Citizens’ Energy Strategist Stephanie Gray.

“The move to cleaner energy is a no-brainer here in the Sunshine State. Hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders are already seeing solar savings from their rooftop, and large-scale solar and wind projects are pushing ageing coal stations out of the market because they provide cheaper electricity.

“If we go beyond Queensland’s 50% renewable energy target we’ll see a surge of regional clean energy jobs that will help communities rebound from the economic downturn.”

The modelling shows that stronger climate and renewable energy commitments from the federal and state government would likely drive additional renewable energy investment in the Darling Downs, Central and Far North Queensland.

If Queensland’s world-leading rooftop solar industry continues to gain momentum, it could create 22,000 installation job years over the next ten years.

“Already Queensland’s solar homes are the state’s largest single generator of electricity and by 2030 this capacity could grow to four times the size of the state’s biggest coal station,” said Ms Gray.

“Queenslanders are quiet clean energy achievers. If our governments follow their lead it will drive down pollution, electricity prices and power jobs for the future.

“The Sunshine State is also one of the best places to develop new renewable hydrogen manufacturing and industry precincts. If our governments act fast, we’ll be well-placed to begin powering the world with Queensland-made renewable hydrogen.

“For a long time hardworking regional Queenslanders have been keeping our electricity system running and the lights on. This energy expertise will be critical as we move to the next generation of energy and begin to export our solar and wind resources to the world.”


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Media contact: Stephanie Gray 0425543006 
Full report here.

Need for Federal Leadership as Cheap Renewables Disrupt Energy System

5 January 2021: Need for Federal Leadership as Cheap Renewables Disrupt Energy System

The Energy Security Board’s latest report on the health of the National Electricity Market demonstrates the clear need for the Morrison Government to implement a credible climate and renewable energy plan, according to community group Solar Citizens.

“Today’s report highlights the need for a credible energy transition plan from the Morrison Government because right now we’re seeing the transition happen rapidly but without proper coordination,” said Stephanie Gray, Campaigner at Solar Citizens.

“We’re seeing cheaper renewable energy coming online quickly and it’s pushing out Australia’s ageing coal and gas generators from the mix. 

“It’s consumers that will have to pay more if the Morrison Government keeps failing to show leadership because we need to ensure there is adequate renewable energy generation and storage online to replace retiring coal and gas stations.

“The Federal Government needs to quit playing politics and acknowledge that the transition is here. It’s time to plan for coal closures and ensure that fossil fuel workers aren’t left out of the conversation.”

The Energy Security Board’s report notes that Australia’s ageing fossil fuel generators are a ‘reliability risk’ in New South Wales and Victoria.

“Ageing coal and gas generators are unreliable, particularly in the summer heat when energy is needed the most,” said Ms Gray.

“We know that renewables backed by storage can keep the lights on, but for the transition to happen smoothly we need the Morrison Government to come to the table. Their policy failings are hurting consumers and stalling a cleaner future for Australians.”

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Media contact: Stephanie Gray 0425543006

Queensland's Clean Energy Spending No Match for Southern States

1 December 2020: Queensland's Clean Energy Spending No Match for Southern States

Community group Solar Citizens today commends the Queensland Government for delivering on their pre-election renewable energy commitments in today’s state budget, but says the Sunshine State has a long way to go to match NSW and Victoria’s clean energy leadership. 

“Allocating $645 million to clean energy and three new Renewable Energy Zones shows that the Queensland Government means business about building a better and more affordable energy future for Queenslanders,” said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens National Director. 

“But Queensland’s spending on clean energy falls short compared to the level of ambition we’re seeing from NSW and Victoria. 

“NSW just passed the biggest and most exciting renewable energy plan Australia has seen yet, and Victoria is helping another 42,000 homes get solar to slash their electricity bills.

“Queensland has world-class solar and wind resources. We could be a clean energy leader and power thousands of new jobs in renewable hydrogen production, but the meager $10 million allocated for hydrogen is not going to cut it.”

Solar Citizens says that this budget also misses opportunities to drive down electricity bills for renters and social housing tenants, especially as Queensland is set to suffer through another heatwave.  These comments come as the Australian Energy Regulator's latest report found that thousands of Australian households and small businesses are struggling to pay their power bills through the pandemic.

“The Queensland Government recently ran a successful solar for renters trial that saw participating tenants save $600 per year on average. Now that it’s summer, it’s a no-brainer to expand this trial so all households can afford to stay cool,” said Ms Roberts.

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Media contact: Ellen 0408 583 694

More Solar Homes for Victoria Welcomed

Solar Citizens welcomes the news today that the Victorian Labor State Government is investing $191 million to help more Victorians benefit from solar. 

Victoria will expand its Solar Homes program to provide solar panel rebates for an additional 42,000 households, and 15,000 rebates for small businesses for the first time. All Victorians will now be able to apply for one of 17,500 household battery rebates. 

“Rooftop solar helps slash power bills, so it’s a no-brainer to help more households and small businesses access solar when so many are doing it tough right now,” said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens National Director.

“Providing bill relief for small businesses and investing in the job-rich rooftop solar industry will stimulate much-needed economic growth

“Providing more batteries will also allow more households to get the maximum benefit from their solar systems”

“Plus we know that when more households export their power to the grid, it helps drive down power bills for everyone else - it’s a win win.”

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Media Contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694

More support for Queensland hydrogen welcome

Solar Citizens today congratulates the Queensland Labor State Government on their commitment to kick-starting Queensland’s hydrogen industry, but says much more should be done.

“Today’s announcement for a further $10 million to develop Queensland’s hydrogen industry is welcome, but it’s not enough to turn the Sunshine State into a renewable hydrogen powerhouse,” said Solar Citizens’ National Director Ellen Roberts.

“We have incredible solar and wind resources here. We should be the envy of the world by producing cheap and abundant renewable hydrogen for export – powering long-term jobs and a future-proof economy.

“The time for trials is over. Queensland can be a world leader by turbocharging renewable hydrogen investment and co-locating hydrogen producers with industry.

“We’re yet to see any announcements in this space from the LNP opposition, which is even more disappointing. A thriving renewable hydrogen industry is a huge opportunity for regional Queensland and we should be getting on the front foot.” 

For comment call Ellen Roberts on 0408 583 694

Renewables Plan Backed by Concerned Youth

22 October 2020: Renewables Plan Backed by Concerned Youth

This morning a collection of community groups and concerned Townsville youth came together to call on all sides of politics to back more renewable energy in the lead up to the state election, following new report findings that the energy transition would create thousands of jobs in the Townsville region.

The report, commissioned by Queensland Conservation Council from Green Energy Markets, found that around 1,400 ongoing jobs in Townsville and nearly 11,000 ongoing jobs across Queensland will be created if the Sunshine State moves to 100% renewable energy. 

If the transition progresses rapidly, 1,100 construction jobs would be maintained every year for ten years building solar, wind and storage projects in the Townsville region.

“The transition is already well underway because solar and wind energy backed by storage is the cheapest form of new-build energy generation and Queensland households are turning to solar in droves to cash in on the solar savings,” said Simon from North Queensland Conservation Council.

“The energy transition is a win-win for Townsville. It means cleaner air, a big boost to the economy and energy generated locally instead of coming up from the south.”

The report found it’s possible to make the transition to clean energy reliably with technologies that exist today, such as pumped hydro, battery storage, bioenergy, solar thermal and renewable hydrogen.

Volunteers from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) are backing the plan for more clean energy jobs and a safe climate future for Townsville’s youth. 

“Townsville needs more good job opportunities for young people. This report shows how we can unlock those opportunities while creating a clean future for all of us,” said Matthew Garbutt from AYCC.

“Many of my friends have moved down south for work, but we can power more local jobs by utilising North Queensland’s incredible solar and wind resources.”

“We want our leaders to put the future of young people before fossil fuels by investing in more publicly-owned clean energy projects.”

Households and businesses across Queensland are continuing to turn to solar as a quick and easy way to reduce their electricity costs, with around 3,000MW already installed across the state. If current trends continue, the experts expect 8,000MW of rooftop solar will be operating in Queensland by 2040, which is almost  three times the capacity of Australia’s largest coal-fired generator. 

According to the groups, an abundance of cheap solar and wind energy will create further ongoing job opportunities in renewable manufacturing.

“Already there’s a battery storage manufacturing plant proposed for Townsville that would create 1,150 ongoing jobs. But this project could just be the tip of the iceberg,” said Stephanie Gray from Solar Citizens.

“There’s an emerging global market for minerals made with renewable energy and up here we have all the ingredients to kick-start these new clean energy industries.

“We should be using our abundant solar and wind to power tens of thousands of jobs in ‘green steel’ and renewable hydrogen.”

“It’s time for our politicians to put a plan in place to phase-out old, dirty energy and make the essential transition over to renewable energy,” says Claire Fryer, Campaigner at Queensland Conservation Council.

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Media contact: Stephanie Gray 0425543006

Solar Recycling Pledge Welcomed

19 October 2020: Solar Recycling Pledge Welcomed

News that the Queensland LNP will open a solar panel recycling facility in South East Queensland was today welcomed by community group Solar Citizens.

“Solar systems across Queensland are providing households with much-needed bill savings while creating cleaner energy, and it’s great to see the LNP planning ahead so this industry can continue to thrive,” said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director.

“We absolutely need to have a robust recycling industry for when solar and storage reach the end of their lives so that clean technology has as little environmental impact as possible.

“Already Aussie researchers are looking at innovative ways to recycle solar panels, so it’s a smart move to kick-start this industry and capitalise on our clean energy expertise.”

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Media contact:
Ellen Roberts 0408583694

Hospitals to win with solar savings

Solar Citizens has today welcomed the announcement from the Queensland government that they will fit Queensland hospitals with solar power - which will cut power bills and bring down emissions.

‘Hospitals are big energy users, running medical equipment and providing a cool and clean environment for people who need it most. Solar and batteries will also provide much needed back up power to hospitals during outages.This announcement to fit hospitals with solar is a no-brainer,’ said Solar Citizens National Director Ellen Roberts.

‘We’d like to see solar on all public buildings in Queensland. It will bring down energy costs, and income generated from selling power from the panels can go towards funding schools and hospitals,’ said Ms Roberts.

For comment call Ellen Roberts on 0408 583 694  

Labor's plans for transmission upgrades welcomed


Solar Citizens has today welcomed Labor’s plans for upgrading Australia’s transmissions system to enable clean renewable energy like wind and solar.

‘Australia is well overdue for a government with a commitment to planning for the energy transition. A lack of transmission infrastructure is stifling investment in new renewable energy and preventing Australia from capitalising on its world class wind and solar’, said National Director Ellen Roberts

‘Our cheap clean power could be powering a new generation of manufacturing jobs. The lack of a coherent climate and energy policy from the current government is ruining Australia’s chances of becoming a global clean energy leader.’

'Renewable energy isn’t just about future jobs - it's keeping Australians in work now as we recover from the covid-19 economic crisis. In Queensland, Copperstring 2.0 a transmission line running from Mt Isa to Townsville will assist existing industries like the Mt Isa smelter to stay open by giving them access to cheap renewable energy.’

‘We also need to be planning for upgrades to the distribution network, for the grid at the household level, to make sure we’re enabling Australians to get rooftop solar and manage their own energy bills,’ said Ms Roberts

For comment call Ellen Roberts on 0408 583 694

Copperstring Deal Will Provide Cheap Energy Boost

7 October 2020: Copperstring Deal Will Provide Cheap Energy Boost

Solar Citizens has today welcomed the State Government’s commitment to seeing the building of Copperstring 2.0 – which will enable clean renewable energy to power new and existing industries in North Queensland.

"This important infrastructure project will allow new renewable energy projects to connect to the grid from Townsville to Mt Isa, unlocking abundant local and cheap energy for the region," said Solar Citizens' National Director Ellen Roberts.

"At the moment industries in the north are hamstrung by high electricity prices, particularly in Mt Isa where they rely on expensive gas generation. 

"Copperstring will enable an influx of cheap renewables, which will benefit existing industries in Mt Isa and the North West Minerals Province and pave the way for new industries.

"North Queensland urgently needs new transmission infrastructure to access our incredible wind and solar resources, and this project is a key component.

"Last night at the Townsville Bulletin candidate’s debate for the seat of Townsville both the Katter party candidate and MP for Townsville Scott Stewart confirmed their support for Copperstring 2.0, and the affordable energy it will bring to the region. It’s time for the LNP to make a similar commitment to bringing clean, affordable energy to North Queensland."

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Media contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694