Media - Solar Citizens

Media Releases

Win for solar owners with solar charges dropped

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has dropped the proposal to let power network companies charge solar owners for feeding their electricity to the grid in the face of community opposition. [1]

“It was an outrageous proposal to begin with and has been rightly taken off the table. 2,500 solar owners across Australia made it very clear to the AEMC that this was an unacceptable approach and they should not be charged for exporting their clean solar power to the grid,” said Shani Tager, Senior Solar Campaigner, Solar Citizens.

“This is a big win for the 1.7 million Australian households that have stumped up their own money to put solar on their roof and take back control of their power bills.

“Rooftop solar delivers clear benefits across the community and solar owners should not be charged for their clean, renewable power.

“The big power stations don’t have to pay to export the energy they generate to the grid and solar households shouldn’t have to pay either.

“This is the second time that the AEMC have tried to introduce similar charges and have been forced to back down in the face of opposition by solar owners.

For media inquiries: Shani Tager, 0432 050 809


Building Solar Thermal in Port Augusta Shines Light on Australia’s Big Renewable Opportunity

Premier Jay Weatherill and the South Australian Government’s sensible decision to back building the one of the world’s biggest solar thermal plants with storage in Port Augusta shines a light on Australia’s opportunity to make an orderly transition to 100% renewable energy, according to Solar Citizens.

“Premier Jay Weatherill and the South Australian Government should be congratulated for listening to the community and backing solar thermal with storage in Port Augusta,” Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens said.

“South Australia is showing Australia what is necessary to get on with the job of getting us to a 100% solar and renewable-powered electricity supply. Building solar thermal in Port Augusta, plus the world’s biggest battery shines a light on how we power Australia with plentiful sun, wind and waves,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Solar Citizens said the Federal Government must now produce a plan to repower Australia with 100% renewable energy.

“24 hour solar power is a reality for Australia, right here, right now. It’s time for the Federal Government to help consumers by making an orderly transition to 100% renewable energy sources,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“South Australia will reap the benefits of taking action early to build renewables with storage. Now, it’s up to the Turnbull Government to help the rest of the nation catch up,” Ms O’Rourke said.

For media inquiries: Brami Jegan 0448 276 945

Policy Needed To Ensure All Benefit from Clean and Affordable Solar with Storage

Solar Citizens is urging all sides of politics to commit to policies that support all South Australians, regardless of income, to have access to rooftop solar with storage as it becomes more affordable than ever.

The call follows reports today citing energy expert Bruce Mountain’s analysis that solar with storage is now cheaper than grid electricity in our great state.

“Experts are now saying that rooftop solar with storage is the most affordable power option for South Australians, which is good news but our politicians must make sure all citizens can access the benefits of the rooftop revolution,” Dan Spencer South Australian campaigner with Solar Citizens said.

“There’s never been a better time to go solar and all across South Australia households have recognised this with solar installations booming and over 210,000 solar systems installed across our state” Mr Spencer said.

“Building an energy system that is clean and affordable starts with everyday South Australian’s rooftops. South Australian politicians should be putting forward policies like putting solar and batteries onto public housing to be used as a virtual power network for tenants and the broader community, a public interest retailer to support people on low incomes through the transition and to incentivise landlords to invest in solar and storage for renters,” he said.

“Already we’ve seen the government trial solar on public housing so some of the groundwork is underway - and that’s a good thing.

“We need policies and regulation that ensure a flexible electricity system where households can trade their cheap, clean sun-power with their neighbours and help power our schools, hospitals and small businesses.

“South Australia has a choice, get through the transition to clean energy or use it as an opportunity to secure a fair, clean and affordable power supply for all of us,” Mr Spencer said.

For media inquiries: Dan Spencer 0423 865 632


World’s biggest battery points way to renewable and storage powered future

Solar Citizens has welcomed the South Australian Government’s announcement that the world’s biggest battery will be built in South Australia, as an example for the world. After a tender involving 91 projects, Tesla was selected to partner with Neoen to pair the world’s biggest battery with Neoen’s Hornsdale wind farm near Jamestown.

“South Australia is leading the way with clean power and now storage for the rest of the country and the world to follow” Dan Spencer South Australian Campaigner with Solar Citizens said.

“The future is clear, renewable energy from the sun and the wind backed up with storage is the clean, affordable and reliable energy we all need and South Australia is now leading the way” Mr Spencer said.

Solar Citizens say the next step is for the South Australian Government to commit to purchasing power from solar thermal in Port Augusta with tender results expected soon.

“This is the first big step in repowering South Australia with 21st century renewables and storage. We hope the South Australian Government continues to lead by building solar thermal with storage in Port Augusta in the coming months” Mr Spencer said.

For media comment: Dan Spencer 0423 865 632

Budget reply speech points to a new solar age for NSW

The NSW Opposition Leaders Budget reply speech today made promising announcements in support of a solar owners and battery storage across NSW says Solar Citizens.

NSW ALP Opposition Leader Mr Foley, in his budget reply speech, promised a NSW Labor government will “provide a fair minimum solar tariff so that households with rooftop solar are paid fairly for the power they generate” and "massively increase solar energy generation on the rooftops of government buildings.” [1]

“We think this is an excellent initiative, and hope to see these promises become policies, and policies that are implemented with support across the parliament,” said Shani Tager, Senior Campaigner at Solar Citizens. 

“Today NSW Labor demonstrated that they are listening to the hundreds of thousands of solar owners in NSW who have been calling for a compulsory fair price for solar. Big energy companies can’t keep taking solar owners for a ride by paying them a pittance for the power they produce.

“This announcement follows recent moves by the current NSW Energy Minister to put in place a fairer price for solar and again congratulate him and his team on these efforts. Getting policies on solar right is important for everyone.

“What we need right now, in NSW, and across the country, is a true fair price for solar and proper multi-partisan support for solar technology with storage and we’re starting to see moves in this direction.

“Mr Foley committing a future Labor Government to these policies means he should be rightly congratulated.

“Solar delivers clear benefits across the community, whether you have solar on your rooftop or not. Getting all sides of politics to recognise our solar future, to understand all the benefits of powering the country from the sun has just got to be done, and surely is a no brainer,” she said.

“There are millions of solar voters across the country, politicians failing to recognise them and their support are simply dudding themselves of electoral support.

This promise to "massively increase" solar generation in NSW if elected in 2019 would be achieved by installing panels on the rooftops of government buildings including schools, hospitals and police stations.

Media Contact: Andrew Bradley P: 0403 777 137 E: [email protected]


Yet another solar policy step with no plan, and little thought

Planned moves by the Queensland Government on solar, battery storage and feed-in tariffs (FiT) will limit battery uptake and yet again tamper with the growth of this vital industry according to Solar Citizens.

The proposal indicates an intention to restrict solar owners who are part of the Solar Bonus Scheme from installing batteries. If solar owners do choose to install a battery they will lose their premium feed-in tariff.

“This move puts solar owners between a rock and a hard place if they want to add storage to their solar system,” said Shani Tager, Senior Solar Campaigner, Solar Citizens.

“At this point in the debate about Australia’s energy future, curbing the uptake of proven technology in the sunniest State in the country is just bizarre.

“Seriously, governments of all political persuasions may want to actually start to consult with industry and solar voters, think about what is best for consumers and ponder a little on the consequences and impacts of proposals like this.

“The proposal indicates that If they do move to add battery storage, they’ll get kicked off the solar bonus scheme and be forced to deal with big energy companies that don’t have to pay them anything for the solar they export back to the grid,” said Tager.

“If this move was introduced with a fair price for solar, a mandated minimum feed in tariff, then we’d support it but as is, it will limit battery uptake.

“Batteries are an important part of the energy mix going forward and moves like this without a fair price of solar will slow the growth of this industry.

“The Queensland government wants 1 million solar households - they’ve got a long way to go to get there.

“Instead of taking this opportunity to show leadership in putting policies forward that support solar households, they’re making it harder for people to do the right thing and put storage in with their solar,” said Tager.

Media Contact: Andrew Bradley P: 0403 777 137 E: [email protected]

Queensland seeks to shift from its place as a laggard on renewable energy

Queensland, the Australian state with the lowest uptake of renewable energy in the country, has today announced significant changes to put it on the path to a renewable energy future.

“Today we have seen the first real policy response arising from the Queensland Renewable Energy Expert Panel's report and while we’re still working through the detail there are some welcome signals in relation to supporting solar energy,” said Shani Tager, Senior Solar Campaigner at Solar Citizens.

“Solar Citizens have been campaigning for some time for governments to have a plan for our energy future, so we can hit 100% clean, renewable energy as soon and as cheaply as possible.

“There is no such plan Federally so we recognise the fact that the Queensland Government is actually enacting a ‘Queensland Power Plan’ - we hope the Federal Government might see the sunlight and do its bit now, but given recent efforts of our leaders it is hard to see they will see the light.

“And isn't it ironic - don't you think? Queensland has only 5% large scale renewable energy in their state grid but Queenslanders are leading the nation with over 500,000 households with rooftop solar, all of whom are voters, solar citizens, solar voters,” she said.

“That’s a constituency they ignore at their peril.

“A 400MW reverse auction and a feasibility study for a state owned clean power company are positive moves.

“As in other states and places like India, reverse auctions are a proven way of getting large renewable energy and small scale systems deployed and built,” Tager said. “But with the industry already building twice that amount in the state, the Government needs to lift their ambition.”

“But we know 50% renewable energy won't cut it, it’s 100% we have to reach, and fast.

“We need short term targets and more detail for what will happen post-2020 to provide certainty for investors and consumers to ensure that Sunshine State cannot just urgently catch up but lead, as they should,” Tager said.

Media Contact: Andrew Bradley P: 0403 777 137 E: [email protected]

Solar Citizens responds to Minister Frydenberg’s proposed changes to legislation to enable the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to invest in dirty coal

Claire O’Rourke, National Director, Solar Citizens said: “Utter nonsense.” * 

* A more thorough response was unwarranted given the reported proposal:




Media Contact: Andrew Bradley P: 0403 777 137 E: [email protected]

NSW Government sensibly moves on a fairer price for solar

The NSW Government is to be congratulated for moving to recognise a fairer price for solar for NSW solar owners, according to Solar Citizens, who have just received notice of the proposed changes

“Solar Citizens recognises the efforts of the Minister here for this excellent progress towards a fairer price for NSW solar owners,” said Shani Tager, Senior Campaigner, Solar Citizens.

“Following shortly after the Victorian Government announcement, we have another government actually listening to the concerns of solar households - this is a win for solar owners across the state.

“The proposed ‘doubling of benchmark range’ could see 360,000 solar owners getting a better price for their solar, that’s a great outcome.

“These recommended increases to the tariff better reflect the increased wholesale price of electricity and demonstrates the widespread benefits to the network as a whole that solar provides,” she said.

“We call on power companies operating in NSW to commit to implement the new tariffs from 1 July 2017 as recommended by IPART."

Governments of all political persuasions and at all levels, need to understand that it is critical that a fair price for solar producers is mandated,” Ms Tager said.

A fairer feed-in tariff needs to become law to truly recognise the value solar provides in reducing pressure on the grid and helping the environment, benefitting all electricity consumers, whether they have solar or not.

“We are determined to see every Australian solar owner get a fair price for their solar – right across the country and will push for this increase to become legally binding,” Ms Tager said.

Media Contact: Andrew Bradley P: 0403 777 137 E: [email protected]

Final Report on Network Value of Solar lands in Victoria

The Victorian Essential Services Commission (ESC) has today released the highly anticipated final report into the true value of solar, following a string of recent announcements and policy changes to encourage the uptake of solar in that state.

“This report establishes the benefits that rooftop solar provides to the whole network and all energy consumers but disappointingly fails to put a dollar figure on that value,” said Shani Tager, Senior Campaigner, Solar Citizens.

“It is an important report in its effort to recognise the true value of solar. Unfortunately, their recommendation of further investigations into a market mechanism will cause unnecessary delays in Victorian solar owners getting a fairer price for the power they produce.

“Solar Citizens believes that the simplest and most effective way to recognise the value from locally produced and used energy is through a feed in tariff (FiT) system where solar owners receive a fair price for the power they produce,” she said.
“The ESC report comes on the back of recent announcements in Victoria such as a doubling in the price paid for solar exports, and the powering of Melbourne’s iconic tram system with solar power.
“This is a State that is streaking ahead of its interstate rivals when it comes to supporting the growth of renewable energy,” said Tager.

“This sort of recognition of the value of solar is sorely lacking in other states across the country.

“We encourage the Victorian Government to continue their common-sense approach to solar and to increase the feed in tariff to reflect the network benefits outlined in the report.

“Using a feed in tariff to recognise the true value that rooftop solar provides to the whole community will encourage solar across the state, which is good for the environment and will reduce costs to all consumers,” she said.

Media Contact: Andrew Bradley P: 0403 777 137 E: [email protected]