Media - Solar Citizens

Media Releases

POWER COMPANIES PUSH TO PENALISE HOMEOWNERS FOR THEIR OWN FAILURE TO PLAN FOR TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY NETWORK

Australia’s major electricity network operators have failed to plan for renewable energy such as solar making up a growing part of the energy mix - and want to penalise homeowners for their failure, whether they have solar or not according to Solar Citizens.

A recently released report by the Energy Networks Association, Future Network Cost Recovery And Depreciation, outlines a series of harsh penalties it suggests could be imposed on households including:

  • an arbitrary and punitive network exit fee if solar households decide to leave the centralised energy grid;
  • charging all households whether they are connected to the mains grid or not; and 
  • a plan to compensate networks for poles, wires and substations no longer needed.

It’s unacceptable for big electricity companies like Ausgrid, Ergon and SA Power Networks to slug solar homeowners for their comprehensive lack of good management and future planning,” said Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke.

“These companies have been goldplating the electricity network for years, pushing up prices for consumers, and now they’ve been caught out asking for more.

“The number of solar homes in Australia has grown from about 14,000 in 2007 to more than 1.4 million today.

“More and more households are no longer content to just take the deal offered by the big power companies - people want to generate their own clean energy with solar and enjoy the cost savings on their power bills.

“Generating your own solar power allows people to take control of their power bills. Families are installing solar, pensioners are buying rooftop panels and the highest uptake has been among low and middle-income areas.

“We need innovation and new approaches that treat all homeowners fairly and are not aimed at making it harder for people to go solar and lower their power costs,” she said.

Claire O’Rourke is available for interview.

Energy Networks Association, Future Network Cost Recovery And Depreciation, report available here: http://www.ena.asn.au/sites/default/files/ena_future_network_cost_august_2015.pdf

Media contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

Australians back US ambition and support 50% renewable energy by 2030: new poll

US President Barack Obama’s revised Clean Power Plan announced overnight will generate a boom in renewable energy such including solar, according to Solar Citizens.

National Director Claire O’Rourke said the new US plan is part of a global push towards renewables and Australia risks missing out on economic opportunities unless full support is thrown behind solar power.

“President Obama has shown strong leadership in placing renewable energy at the forefront of future energy plans for the United States,” Ms O’Rourke said today.

“At home we’re seeing millions of Australian households switching on to renewable energy by installing rooftop solar and saving money on soaring power bills.

“The Australian community believes in solar and renewables as the smart way of meeting our energy needs now and for ensuring a robust and thriving economy.

“A new Essential Research Poll to be released today reveals the overwhelming majority of Australians support the Labor Party’s policy of 50% renewable energy by 2030.

“The poll found 65% of Australians approve of a national target of generating 50% of Australia’s power from renewable energy by 2030, while only 16% disapprove.

“Australians have long been calling for more support for renewable energy and it is clear that Labor’s policy of a 50% target has struck a chord with the public.

“Despite ongoing Federal Government attacks on renewables, Liberal/National voters were more likely to approve (45%) than disapprove (35%) of 50% renewable energy by 2030.

“This poll demonstrates that renewables is above politics. The ongoing high level of support for renewable energy in Australia shows the vast majority of people support strong political leadership and a strong commitment to renewable energy,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director at Solar Citizens.

“Australia’s solar and renewable energy industry has suffered from a sustained attack from the Abbott Government since it came to power, undermining jobs and investment, and the Australian people have clearly had enough.

“The community want to see a clear political commitment to a strong solar future and want an orderly plan to manage the way our energy system is changing. The Abbott Government should listen to the majority of Australians who support solar because it helps them take control of their power bills,” she said.

Claire O’Rourke is available for interview.

Media contact: Siobhan Lyttle 0432 828 004

ABBOTT CONTINUES SCARE CAMPAIGN TO KILL RENEWABLE ENERGY SUCH AS SOLAR

Comments by Prime Minister Tony Abbott at a press conference today show he is committed to trying to destroy renewable energy and the power savings it delivers to Australian households, according to Solar Citizens.

Campaigns Director Dan Scaysbrook said it was disappointing the Federal Government spoke of the fundamental importance of helping people with the cost of living, yet it ideologically refused to support rooftop solar that lowered energy bills.

“Prime Minister Tony Abbott is standing in the way of what Australians want most -- a healthy and growing future for renewable energy,” he said.

“There are already 1 million households generating their own affordable, clean energy from rooftop solar. A recent survey of these solar households found they were saving up to 60% on the cost of their power bills.

“The goal of 50% renewable energy as part of the power mix by 2030 is realistic, achievable and in the best interests of consumers.

“The way we use energy is changing, with families and businesses reaping the benefits of lower power bills and energy independence.

“We need leaders with an comprehensive plan to make sure power bills go down, not up.

“Australia needs the growth in new investment, innovation and jobs that renewable energy can bring the nation -- if our leaders can get behind it with their support.

“We urge the Abbott Government to bring bipartisan support to the 50% renewable energy goal by 2030, to show Australians that they will deliver sensible policies that are in the national interest,” he said.

Media contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

Boosting solar and renewable energy front and centre in Labor plans

Solar Citizens welcomes the ALP Conference endorsement today introducing a goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke, said this strong commitment from Labor will create thousands of jobs and help Australian households invest in rooftop solar as an effective way of reducing power bills.

“The battlelines are now redrawn for the Federal election on renewable energy policy,” she said.

“Voters are backing solar. Essential Polling released last week found 55% of people saying they would be more likely to vote for a party that increased government support for renewable energy.

“There are already 1.4 million Australian households with solar power - enough to shift election outcomes.

“A 50% renewable energy by 2030 is achievable and what the majority of people want for our nation,” Ms O’Rourke said today.

“The way we use electricity is changing. Australians want to see a sensible plan that powers up the economy, creates more jobs and helps lower household power bills.

“A recent poll found 65% of Australians support the move to generate 50% or more of our energy from renewable sources by 2030.

“The ALP has today listened to the community and backed renewables. We urge the Abbott Government to back down from its relentless attacks on renewables and do the same,” she said.

Media contact: Jane Garcia  0434 489 533

 

Labor ambition set with 50% renewables by 2030

 

Solar Citizens applauds Labor’s announcement this morning that the party plans to introduce a 50% renewable energy goal of 50% by 2030 as a cornerstone of the party’s Platform to be endorsed at this week’s ALP National Conference.

Solar Citizens National Director, Claire O’Rourke, said Labor’s commitment to a strong renewables goal will be welcomed by the overwhelming majority of Australians who want to see more solar and renewables, not less.

“Labor leader Bill Shorten today begins a new chapter for renewable energy in Australia - this new, ambitious and achievable goal and will address the relentless and wilful damage that the Abbott Government has inflicted on the solar and renewable energy industry since it was elected in 2013,” said Ms O’Rourke.

“This announcement demonstrates that the ALP has a strong commitment to the creation of thousands of jobs and to help families reap the rewards of solar to take control of rising power bills.”

“In setting this new ambitious standard for renewable energy, the ALP has backed a vote winner with recent Essential Polling showing that 55% of people saying they would be more likely to vote for a party that increased Government support for renewable energy.”

“In recent weeks Solar Citizens members have met with ALP MPs from across the country, asking them to take the ‘Stand up for Solar’ pledge. This support is now recognised by the leadership of the party, which is an important development that sets a positive tone to the national debate.

“The way we use energy is changing, with families and businesses reaping the benefits of lower power bills and energy independence. We welcome Labor’s recognition in its National Platform that Australians want to see a strong renewable energy sector that can attract investment and create thousands of new jobs.”

“Australians want political leadership that will deliver cleaner, cheaper energy from solar - the last thing they want to see is ongoing attacks such as those we have seen from the Federal Government.”

“For far too long there has been a disconnect between what Australians want and what our political leaders have delivered. Labor’s announcement takes Australia one step closer to becoming a solar powerhouse.”  

“We urge the Abbott Government to follow Labor’s shining example and agree to a 50% renewable energy goal by 2030, to show Australians that they will deliver sensible policies that are in the national interest.” said Ms O’Rourke.  

Media Contact Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

NSW Farmers Federation joins growing call for greater support for solar and clean energy

Solar Citizens has today welcomed NSW Farmers Federation support for renewable energy after a motion was passed at their state conference that will see them encourage governments to invest in solar.

The Farmers passed the following motion:

Members were in support of the association taking steps to encourage governments to support the transition from fossil fuels like coal and gas towards more renewable energy sources in rural, regional and remote areas where their operation can be shown to be of a net benefit to farming communities.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said the NSW Farmers support for greater investment in solar added to the growing list of people from all walks of life, businesses such as IKEA and leaders such as Pope Francis who recognised the need for more renewable energy.

“Farmers are one of the first groups in society most impacted by rising costs of electricity - it’s great to see the NSW Farmers Federation recognise that and endorse a transition towards greater renewables and solar,” she said.

“Renewable energy has the potential to power our farms, the lifeblood of Australia and help all of our farmers with the rising cost of living.

“Support for solar has swept across Australia, on a local, national and global level.

“As individual households through to top companies and nations, we are all seeing the overwhelming benefits of renewable energy including lowering the cost of power bill.

“Australia has some of the best available solar resources in the world, so we’re in a prime position for generating our own solar and lading this solar revolution.

“One of the best ways Australia can go solar is for our leaders to commit to a national goal of at least 50% renewable energy including solar by 2030 and programs that help low-income households install rooftop solar to help with rising power bills and do their bit for the environment.

“Instead of this future-embracing policy thinking, it becomes clearer every day that our Federal Government is out of step with what the Australian community wants and unwilling to end its ideological attack on renewables.

“Australia’s energy future is beyond party politics. It’s time our leaders listened to the community and truly stood up for growing solar jobs and investment,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment

Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

 

Slashing solar investment strangles clean energy

Solar Citizens has called on the Federal Government to clarify media reports that it has directed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to stop funding small-scale solar power.

National Director Claire O’Rourke said the Government’s attack on popular rooftop solar would deny thousands of Australians the opportunity to reduce their power bills by installing cheap, solar energy.

“Slashing investment in rooftop solar would drag Australia back into the dark ages -- jeopardising thousands of jobs and stopping ordinary households from taking control of their electricity costs,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“Solar energy is the most popular source of electricity in Australia, according to an Ipsos survey conducted in March.

“The Abbott Government is out of touch with the overwhelming 87 per cent of Australians who are in favour of rooftop solar. The Government insists on turning its back on people who are making the sensible, practical move to be part of our nation’s energy future.

“About 60 per cent of solar owners have cut their bills by more than half, according to a recent survey of more than 5,000 Solar Citizens across the nation.

“The shameful cuts to the Renewable Energy Target and this new attack on renewable energy investment is evidence of the Government acting in the vested interests of the big power companies, not the best interests of households.

“We are demanding our political leaders stop attempting to holding back an ambitious future for clean energy in Australia.

“Solar and renewables should not be a partisan issue - it is a sensible investment for households and for Australia as a whole. There’s no doubt Australians want more solar panels installed on suitable rooftops across the nation and the cost savings they bring.

“We urge the Government to get back in touch with the community on this issue and I believe Australians everywhere would welcome nothing less than full support for the jobs, growth, investment and affordable power bills that solar power brings,,” she said.

Media contact: Jane Garcia  0434 489 533

Australia should follow Obama lead and make it easier for low-income households to go solar

Solar Citizens has welcomed the Obama Government’s announcement of a new program that will support the spread of solar power and solar industry jobs to a wider range of Americans, including renters and low-income communities.

Director Campaigns and Organising, Dan Scaysbrook, has called on the Abbott Government to follow the US lead and introduce a national program to help low-income households and renters with soaring power bills to go solar.

“The US Government’s new program will make it easier for low- and middle-income households to install rooftop solar and it will stimulate the growth of jobs in the solar industry,” Mr Scaysbrook said.

“Will the Abbott Government move beyond playing politics with renewable energy and make it easier for low-income Australians to generate their own energy from solar power and save money on their power bills?

“Or will we continue to see this Government go against the overwhelming community support for more solar power on homes across Australia?

“At a time when countries like the USA, China and India are investing in making solar energy more accessible for everyday people, our Government is blocking the expansion of solar.

“It has slashed the Renewable Energy Target and continues to side with the vested interests of the big power companies.

“A recent survey of more than 5000 solar homeowners conducted by Solar Citizens found 60% of [Australian] solar owners have reduced their power bills by more than half and 76% of solar homeowners would upgrade if they could afford it.

“What we urgently need now is a national program to help low-income households, renters and all Australians with soaring power bills to go solar.

“Our leaders should set a national goal of at least 50% of renewable energy by 2030 – then go for it!

“There’s a solar boom going on and we want clever policy that allows us to enjoy the investment, jobs and cheap power it can bring,” he said.

Media contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

More than 214,000 Victorian households affected by unfair solar changes

The Victorian Government should reject any recommendation by the electricity price regulator to unfairly reduce the state’s solar feed-in tariff, according to Solar Citizens.

Victorian households with rooftop solar could get as little as five cents a kilowatt-hour for the power they pump back into the grid next year, under a proposed decision by the state's Essential Services Commission, according to today’s The Age.

Director Campaigns and Organising, Dan Scaysbrook, said more than 214,000 Victorians had chosen to invest in generating rooftop solar energy and they deserved a fair price for the clean power generated.

“Solar owners in Victoria would feel a great sense of betrayal at plans to slash the solar feed-in tariff to as low as 5 cents cents per kilowatt hour (c/kWh),” he said.

“More than 214,000 Victorian households have installed rooftop solar, generating 535MW of renewable energy and investing $1,607.6 million.

“Families have made the move to solar to take back control of their power bills, a reduced tariff would make it so much harder for them.

“Victorians have been among the biggest adopters of solar, which is why the State Government needs to do more to support existing homeowners with solar and to help more households install solar on their rooftops.

“The main driver behind power bill price rises is investment in network poles and wires, not solar homes.

“In fact, a Federal Government review found having rooftop solar as part of the energy mix reduces power costs for all households – whether they have solar installed or not.

“Solar Citizens urges the Victorian Government to increase support so more households can go solar – not less,” he said.

Interview available.

Media contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

AER reject outrageous fees for solar homeowners after Solar Citizens campaign

Solar Citizens has today welcomed the news that the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has rejected the absurd proposal from SA Power Networks to introduce a new unfair charge for solar homeowners of $100 a year.

“This is a great victory for solar homeowners in South Australia,” Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said.

“Common sense has won the day, this outrageous application by SA Power Networks was nothing more than a money grab from the 184,921 solar homes in South Australia.”

“Solar Citizens volunteers in South Australia knocked on doors and gathered signatures on our petition to raise their concern about the proposed discriminatory fee, which has now been rejected by the regulator.”

“Significantly, the AER noted in its ruling that solar households have no measurable difference in the impact on the electricity network and should not be treated differently.”

“In recent weeks I have been out listening to thousands of people all across Australia who all share the concern of being discriminated against because they have solar rooftops.

“These people from all walks of life have signed up to our ‘Stand up for Solar’ pledge calling for an end to unfair fees for solar owners, a national goal of at least 50% renewable energy including solar by 2030 and help all Australian families who are struggling with the rising cost of electricity bills.”

“The AER should stand firm and make sure that solar homeowners in South Australia are protected from discriminatory and unwarranted fees,” said Ms O’Rourke.

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment

Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

 

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