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Want an election win? Target 3 million solar voters

June 2, 2016: Research released today by Solar Citizens, shows 80 per cent of federal electorates contain more voters with solar panels on their roof than the number of voters required to change the sitting member.

The Solar Scorecard analysis was compiled using detailed postcode data published by the Clean Energy Regulator and weighted in accordance with the AEC federal electoral boundary redistribution in 2016. The scorecard also analyses the major parties’ pledges on priority policy areas outlined in the recently released Homegrown Power Plan.
“With just one month to go until polling day, politicians need to be clear that in 121 of the 150 lower house seats in the House of Representatives there are enough solar voters that could change their MP, and turn politics in this country on its head,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.
“What this research shows is that both parties need to come out and better address their stance on renewable energy. Three million Australians, or one in five people of voting age, now live under a solar-powered roof, making them an influential and rapidly growing constituency that politicians ignore at their peril.
“Neither of the major parties wants to admit renewable energy is a serious election issue, but poll after poll tells us it is a vote shifter.
“The research shows solar ownership is more prevalent in rural, regional and outer mortgage belt suburbs, where marginal electorates are most prevalent.
“Major parties are always chasing marginal seat wins - if they want to lock in a strong election win, they should actively support the three million voters who support clean energy,” Ms O’Rourke said.
Recent polling shows that 64 per cent of all Australians would be more likely to vote for a party with a policy transition our economy to 100% renewables in the next 20 years.
“These people are average Australians who decide to back renewable energy by installing solar panels on their roofs. They do this because they know, in the long run, it will reduce their power bills and save the environment.
“They want to know our federal government is doing the same.
“The jobs and growth mantra lacks any substance without a serious position on renewable energy investment and the public is sick of being played for fools. A report released this week by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) has highlighted the loss in jobs in the renewable energy sector in the 2014-15 financial year following a cut to Australia’s Renewable Energy Target.

“If jobs were really the target, they need look no further than the renewable energy sector which displays real job prospects and innovation as well as a practical response to transitioning our economy away from fossil fuels,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Solar scorecard:
Homegrown Power Plan:

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

Plan for more renewable energy will bring jobs and energy resilience

Solar Citizens, the peak group representing 5 million solar owners, welcomes the announcement today from the Labor Opposition leader to build 500MW of clean energy over the next 10 years if elected.

“For too long, Tasmania has relied upon the large hydro-power electricity system to supply its electricity needs. But the energy crisis has revealed the need for Tasmania to invest in more new, renewable clean energy such as rooftop solar”, said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

“There are over 69,000 Tasmanians living in solar-powered houses who know the benefits of solar power better than anyone. After all, they’ve invested their own money in order to reduce their electricity bills, produce clean energy and stimulate local jobs”, said O’Rourke

‘Millions of dollars in taxpayers money has been spent dealing with the impacts of the energy crisis. Investment in renewable energy like solar would help ensure this energy crisis is not repeated”, said O’Rourke

“Solar Citizens calls on the Hodgman Government to support the solar industry in Tasmania and provide a vision for building more renewables”

“Recent research undertaken with the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance has shown that the price for solar in Tasmania is vastly undervalued. Ensuring a fair price for solar exports would help stimulate private investment in rooftop solar, creating jobs and ensuring greater resilience in Tasmania’s energy supply” said O’Rourke.

The report ‘Why is solar power undervalued in Tasmania?’ can be found at:

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

Solar Owners welcome more big solar from QLD Govt

Solar Citizens, the peak group representing 5 million solar owners, welcomes the announcement today from Premier Palaszczuk and Energy Minister Mark Bailey to lift the Government’s target of large-scale solar to 120MW.

“Queensland households know the benefits of solar power better than anyone. After all, they’ve invested more of their own money into solar power than any other community in the world. So it’s great to see the Palaszczuk Government lift the large-scale solar target from 60MW to 120MW”, said Claire O’Rourke, National Director with Solar Citizens

“There are over 1.2 million Queenslanders living under solar powered roofs with an installed capacity of 1,400MW. These households know the benefits of installing solar: it helps them take control of their bills; generates local jobs and produces reliable, clean energy”, said O’Rourke.

“This new target complements the Government’s policy of achieving 50% renewable energy in Queensland by 2030 - a very realistic goal given the rate of change in the energy sector which promises to deliver all the benefits clean energy delivers”, said O’Rourke.

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

Community Renewables announcement welcomed by solar owners

Solar Citizens, the peak group representing 5 million solar owners, today welcomes the announcement from Bill Shorten that an ALP Government would dedicate $98.7 million towards Community Power Hubs.

“Five million Australians already enjoy powering their own homes with renewable energy from the sun but there are millions more who would love to join them. Community Power Hubs offers them the opportunity to share in the benefits of clean energy including more jobs and lower power bills,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

“Existing community energy projects such as Hepburn Wind and Repower Shoalhaven have forged a new model of generating, local, clean energy that delivers on jobs and clean energy. But these projects are often made incredibly difficult because of red tape and an outdated electricity system. This funding will help them navigate those hurdles and build more community-owned clean energy”, said O’Rourke.

Solar Citizens is calling on all national political leaders to commit to a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030. We know this is possible and brings huge benefits. The way to achieving this is by:

  • Building big solar
  • Creating a national fair price for solar
  • Funding community owned solar power
  • Protecting the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

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


New research: Price for rooftop solar massively undervalued in Tasmania

Newly released research by the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance and Solar Citizens shows that power generated from household solar in Tasmania is worth more than double the current price, holding back an industry that could bolster energy resilience. The analysis of electricity generation, network, health and climate benefits shows solar is worth between 17 and 22c/kWh.
TREA and Solar Citizens have called on Minister for Energy, Matthew Groom to step in and set a fair price for solar.
“A fair price for solar would give Tasmania’s solar industry the boost it desperately needs and would lift jobs, improve energy resilience, provide a fair rate of return and create clean, healthy communities, said Claire O’Rourke, National Director with Solar Citizens.
“The current price paid to solar households is simply unfair, and it’s holding back Tasmania’s solar industry. Currently, solar households receive 6.1c for exported solar. At the same time, grid electricity costs 25c whilst Hydro Tasmania is generating electricity from gas and diesel, sometimes at a cost of between 17 and 30c”, said Jack Gilding, Executive Officer of the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance.
The new research follows a report released last week by Tasmania’s Economic Regulator that failed to see the benefits of solar energy in boosting the State’s employment and energy security. The Regulator has recommended a 7.3c feed-in tariff but acknowledged that it failed to take into account network benefits as well as jobs, energy security and environmental benefits.
In stark contrast, the Victorian Essential Services Commission has recently released a report arguing that the price for exported solar should be increased to account for environmental benefits and benefits brought to the grid.
Matthew Groom is the Minister for Energy, the Minister for State Growth, and the Minister for Environment. He is responsible for energy security, jobs and reducing the environmental damage from fossil fuels.
“The Regulator proposes exactly the same formula as it used three years ago, despite the urgent challenges facing Tasmania energy security and the globally agreed need to rapidly phase out fossil fuels.” said Mr Gilding.
“Tasmanians need their government to see the big picture and take decisive action on supporting renewable energy. Burning diesel and gas, praying for rain and importing dirty Victorian electricity is not an acceptable response to Tasmania’s energy situation .”
Solar Citizens and TREA call on Matthew Groom and the Premier Will Hodgman to intervene now before the Regulator publishes a final rate for 2016-2017 that is expected to be far below the true value solar PV delivers to Tasmania.

A full copy of the report and the graphic below can be found at:
Media comment:

Andrew Bradley +61 403 777 137

Solar Citizens welcomes the Australian Greens policy plan for electric vehicles

18 May, 2016: The Australian Greens policy, announced today, on accelerating the electric vehicle (EV) revolution is a welcome and much needed intervention in this Federal Election, and should be a real national conversation starter according to Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

“We are pleased to see the national discussion in this election, we might add on this occasion led by the Greens, moving towards the game changing technology of electric vehicles,” she said.

“EV’s and battery storage are game changing technologies that will put us firmly on the path to 100% clean renewable electricity by 2030.

“Getting the right policy settings in Australia will assist with EV rollout while also preparing for a future where this technology becomes the dominant technology over ‘traditional’ fossil fuel powered transport.

“That future is coming, right around the world, and it is coming fast — and it’s critical that EV’s become everyday vehicles, not get stuck in a niche, luxury vehicle market.” Ms O’Rourke said.

“Setting targets for vehicles on the road, the proposition that the Federal government would cover the costs of state vehicle registration fees for new fully electric vehicles for the first five years, investing in EV charging stations, encouraging fleet uptake at the Government level and for NGO’s are all positive policy interventions.

“We also fully support the idea that the Council of Australian Government's (COAG) should urgently place EV uptake and planning on their standing agenda and aim to develop a policy framework by COAG for EV’s.

“Solar Citizens believes that this would have a significant positive impact on planning at the State and Federal level for the future that is hurtling towards us — a future of our roads buzzing with electric vehicles,” she said.

“Making this transition smooth and in line with the falling costs of EV’s globally obviously requires coherent and smart policy settings.

“So looking at where we are in the election cycle, we can again see the Greens leading the pack, the ALP having a swag of policies that are smart steps in the right direction, and a distinct, and disturbing, lack of policy as yet from the Federal Coalition,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Media Contact:

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

Solar Citizens is an independent, community-based organisation bringing together millions of solar owners and supporters to grow and protect solar in Australia. Together, we take action to protect the rights of millions of Australians with solar to cut bills, create clean power and take energy generation back into our own hands.

ACT legislates a landmark target of 100% electricity from renewables by 2020

Solar Citizens have welcomed the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) legislating a target of 100% renewable energy for the Territory by 2020, following debate in the Legislative Assembly this afternoon.

“The ACT clearly demonstrates that the shift to 100% renewable energy for electricity at the local, regional, and indeed national level is not only feasible, it is a reality,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director, Solar Citizens.

“The ACT is leading the nation on this vital economic, environmental and social reform.

“The many tens of thousands of solar citizens in the ACT, all of them citizens that vote, will be rejoicing at this momentous piece of legislation in the Territory.

“We congratulate the Government for taking this bold and correct step for the future of the people of the ACT,” she said.

“The renewables sector needs certainty, so we expect the Opposition in the ACT to place its full support behind this policy and ensure that this legislation will not face isn't subject to endless political argy bargy in the months and years to come,” said Ms O’Rourke.

“It’s quite simply, the right thing to do for the people of the ACT.

“The ACT Government is leading the orderly move to the future here in Australia, now it’s time for the ACT Opposition to take the sensible, popular position and offer real, meaningful bipartisanship on this issue that is so critical to Canberra’s clean energy future,” Ms O’Rourke said. 

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

Greens policy on battery storage welcome

The Australian Greens policy announcement today, to redirect money from fossil fuel tax breaks into supporting battery storage in homes and businesses, is a positive policy platform that can enhance an orderly energy transition already well underway in Australia.

“We welcome this policy announcement - battery storage technology is game-changer that will help solar owners become active, engaged consumers in a modern, people-powered energy system,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director, Solar Citizens.

“This is just one of many announcements over the last fortnight that shows the march to 100% renewable energy is well underway in this country, and it is only going to move faster.

“The Australian Greens have made a suite of positive, practical announcements on renewables, including todays on battery storage,” she said.

“Meanwhile, we are still searching for the Federal Government's policy for orderly transition of the electricity sector, or any real policy plan for renewables. All we have seen so far is the government cutting $1bn from ARENA and removing the grant making funding that helps to get cutting edge renewables projects off the ground.

“We hope to see the ALP restore confidence around ARENA and its future in tonight's Budget reply,” she said.

“Labor’s colleagues in the ACT Government are today preparing to pass its new 100% renewables by 2020 plan, 5 years earlier than the previous target. This new target will provide certainty to industry and demonstrates a commitment to harnessing the great energy transition we are living through,” Ms O’Rourke said.

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

2016 Turnbull/Morrison budget yet another failure on coherent renewable energy policy

May, 2016: Last night’s Federal Budget was yet another example of how out of touch the Turnbull Government is with the dramatic transformation of our nation’s power generation that is underway, with renewable energy policy almost entirely absent from the Treasurer’s speech and the Budget papers, according to Solar Citizens.

“The Government has made it crystal clear that they intend to lock in at least $1bn in savage cuts to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) – a reckless, foolish and short sighted move,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

“What we heard last night was Treasurer Morrison talking about jobs and growth - if jobs were really the target, they need look no further than the renewable energy sector.

“And yet on renewable energy policy they are silent, except to cut funding for ARENA, it is shameful.

“The global investment boom in renewable energy is gaining momentum - now is the time we should be heavily investing in renewable energy research, not cutting ARENA to the bone,” she said.

“We call on the government to reinstate ARENA’s funding and grants program,” Ms O’Rourke said. “Funding renewable energy research is a vital part of Australia becoming the innovative and transformative economy Mr Turnbull promotes,” she said.

According to Indeed solar jobs are once again rising, up 34 per cent in the last quarter. That, Indeed said, “reflects Australia’s labour market response to climate change investment across the globe”. At present Indeed data shows that solar positions make up 66 per cent of open energy job postings in Australia against oil, with a 21 per cent share, and coal, with just 10 per cent of jobs on offer.

“Clean energy investment in Australia climbed by 16% to USD 2.9 billion (EUR 2.56bn) in 2015, according to figures by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

“It’s hard to find another sector that displays real job prospects and real innovation and a practical response to the challenge of diversifying and strengthening our economy – and our Executive Government has largely ignored it,” said O’Rourke.

“It is hard to reconcile the budgetary decisions being made by the Federal Government and what we are seeing in the real world, here in Australia and right across the globe.

“This smacks of wilful neglect and an absolute failure to recognise the real economic transition that is well advanced in Australia, despite all that has been done by the Abbott/Turnbull administrations to deliberately inject uncertainty into the sector,” she said.

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

Greens renewables policy a welcome light amidst Government policy darkness

Yesterday’s announcement by the Australian Greens setting out clear and achievable targets for 90% renewables by 2030 is a refreshing and appropriate demonstration of community and political leadership at the Federal level.

“The Australian Greens seven-point plan provides a clear, achievable platform for transitioning the Australian economy to clean renewable energy generation, for supporting consumers, the environment and the broader economy,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director, Solar Citizens.

“This is what leadership and policy certainty looks like and the Greens have set the gold standard so far in the lead up to the Federal election.

“Our Homegrown Power Plan - released last week - sets out a plan to set Australia on a pathway to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030. It's exciting to see detailed policies so shortly after this launch, from both the Greens and the ALP who have mapped out a plan to start this process,” said Ms O’Rourke.

“Now it seems everyone has a plan but the Coalition.

“Where is the Government in embracing the renewable boom that that will support their ‘innovation agenda’?” she said.

“Millions of Australians are ready and waiting, and they represent millions of votes.

“We welcome the Australian Greens plan to support workers in transitioning to clean energy jobs and embracing the opportunities solar and renewable energy offer,” said Ms O’Rourke.

“Australia is the sunniest continent on the planet and failure to rapidly embrace a transition to clean, renewable power in this country is not only poor policy, it is a threat to the future sustainability of our national economy,” Ms O’Rourke said.

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