Media - Solar Citizens

Media Releases

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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Adelaide City Council solar program to spark new wave of SA solar

Adelaide City Council solar program to spark new wave of SA solar

Solar Citizens today congratulates Adelaide City Council for the introduction of its new Sustainable City Incentives Scheme that will see households in Adelaide encouraged to take up rooftop solar.

The Adelaide City Council scheme includes:

$5000 for installing solar PV
$5000 for installing energy storage
$500 per electric vehicle charging controller
$5000 for apartment building energy efficiency upgrades
$1000 for changing out quartz halogen downlights to LED downlights

“Adelaide City Council should be congratulated on their new Solar City Incentives Scheme. This innovative scheme will help thousands of South Australian families make the transition to clean sun-powered electricity,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“These families will save money on their bills and will be able to generate clean power from the sun. They will be joining the existing 184,921 households in South Australia who have already made solar their number one choice for power.”

“Recent polling shows 71% of Australians believe solar power should be Australia’s number one form of energy.

“Just last night our Federal Senate passed legislation to slash our Renewable Energy Target. This move will see Australian jobs lost and investment moved overseas.

“It beggars belief that, with consistent and overwhelming public support, with state and local governments moving to invest and prominent world leaders all saying renewable energy is the future, the Abbott Government continues to try and haul our nation backwards.

“In recent weeks I have seen first hand the groundswell of support for clean power, with thousands of people from all walks of life signing up to our ‘Stand up for Solar’ pledge and calling for a national goal of at least 50% renewable energy including solar by 2030.

“The wave of support for clean energy is gaining momentum. If our political leaders don’t get on board with the revolution they face a very real risk of being left out in the cold,” said Ms O’Rourke.

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment

More on Stand Up for Solar: www.standupforsolar.org.au/

Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

RET cuts shameful: Majority want a solar future

The passing in the Senate of legislation to slash the RET last night is an outrageous setback for the sector but there’s no stopping the momentum and public support for more solar in Australia’s energy mix, according to Solar Citizens.

National Director Claire O’Rourke said a recent survey of Solar Citizens members found that when it comes to energy issues 96% of people said the government was protecting the interest of big power companies over Australians.

With an overwhelming 92% of people saying it is important for Australia to be supporting the installation of household solar and 95% were more likely to vote for a party with good solar policies. 

“The slashing of the Renewable Energy Target has seen the Federal Government place the vested interests of the big power companies above sensible policy. We are demanding that our politicians look to a more ambitious future for clean energy, not put jobs, growth and investment in the shade,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“The relief for people who want to take control of their power bills is that there have been no changes to the household solar part of the RET, the SRES, which helps with the cost of installing a system.”

“Solar and renewables should be a non-partisan issue. Solar is supported by most Australians as the best way to take control over their bills and produce their own clean energy.

“Polls and surveys consistently demonstrate that Australians want more solar panels installed on suitable rooftops across the nation and fair reward for the energy generated by solar households. 

“As I travel around the country as part of our Stand Up for Solar campaign, I’m meeting people from all walks of life who are excited by the opportunities presented by rooftop solar, and storage technology.

“It’s time our politicians took strong action to turn this bright, shared vision for the future of solar into a reality,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Claire O’Rourke available for interview.

More on Stand Up for Solar: www.standupforsolar.org.au

Media contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

AGL unfairly slugs solar customers in ACT and NSW, locking out thousands from renewable energy

Solar Citizens has serious concerns about today’s reports that AGL plans to charge solar homeowners up to an extra $434 for solar smart meters in the ACT and NSW.

Only last month, AGL launched extensive TVC and digital advertising pushes its expertise in solar products with the tagline, “Not all solar is created equal”. Now, according to reports, the company is making it harder for solar homeowners to get a fair deal.

“A $434 price hike for installing home solar meters by AGL is an absurd attack on solar home owners in the ACT and NSW. They are penalising Australian families who want to go solar,” said Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke.

“This increase risks locking out thousands of people from going solar in the ACT and NSW - that is deeply disappointing.

“Solar households are most common in lower income suburbs - the main reason these families go solar is to control of their power bills.

“Recent polling shows that 71% of people think Australia should put more emphasis on solar power ahead of all other forms of electricity generation.

“With support for renewable energy at an all time high it’s a risky move by AGL to so blatantly go after solar homeowners in this blatantly discriminatory manner.

“Just last month we had an incredible turnout of solar homeowners all across the country at our Stand up for Solar forums.

“These homeowners pledged to support an end to unfair fees for solar owners, a national goal of at least 50% solar and renewable electricity generation by 2030 and to help all Australians who are struggling with the rising cost of electricity bills.

“AGL campaigned for reducing the Renewable Energy Target, now that it has been slashed they’re digging the knife further into clean energy to maximise profits.”

“Our big power companies need to realise they are way behind the eight ball on renewable energy and risk being left in the dust if they continue to attack the renewable energy industry,” said Ms O’Rourke.

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment

Media contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

You can find out more about Stand up for Solar here: http://www.standupforsolar.org.au/

SOLAR POWER: SENSIBLE CLEAN ENERGY FOR SA

The growing number of South Australians choosing to install solar panels on their rooftops are generating cleaner power and contributing to lowering power costs for all households in the state, according to Solar Citizens.

The Australian Energy Market Operator’s 2015 National Electricity Forecasting Report released today has confirmed rooftop PV will continue to offset grid demand in South Australia. This brings down the cost of electricity for all household electricity users in the state, not just those with solar installed, said Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke.

AEMO will also publish its inaugural Emerging Technology Information Paper later this month, investigating the viability of battery storage solutions for Australian residential consumers over the next 20 years and the impact this and other emerging technologies may have on electricity consumption from the grid.

“Solar power makes sense for South Australia,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“It is a great investment for households who want to cut their power bills and for all the other homeowners who benefits from cheaper power prices created by having solar as part of the electricity mix.

“More than 184,000 South Australian homes generate clean power from the sun, and thousands more are ready to join them.

“With or without renewable energy, Australia’s power networks will always need to spend money on replacing and upgrading infrastructure as technologies and demand change and grow.
“Australians are moving to solar PV and with battery storage set to be the next wave in the electricity generation transformation our networks need to adapt and invest in technology that recognises this inevitable shift.

“Solar Citizens’ new campaign ‘Stand up for Solar’ is calling for a national goal of at least 50% renewable energy by 2030.
“Recent polling by Essential Research shows that 59% of Australians support a 50% Renewable Energy Target by 2030. It’s clear that there is more leadership in the community when it comes to delivering the sun-powered future that people demand,” she said.

Media contact: Jane Garcia  0434 489 533

Pope Francis demands investment in renewable energy

Solar Citizens today welcomes Pope Francis’ call for stronger investment in renewable energy in his challenging Encyclical released last night in London.

The Pontiff wrote:

“There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.”1

National Director Claire O’Rourke said the declaration by the head of the Catholic Church was an opportune moment for Prime Minister Tony Abbott to end his attacks on renewables and shift to clean energy sources such as wind and solar.

“Pope Francis warns that countries wealthy enough to make a real difference mostly use their power to prevent real progress, rather than taking the immediate action needed. 

“Recent polling shows 71% of Australians believe solar power should be Australia’s number one form of energy.

“Yet Prime Minister Tony Abbott has put jobs, lower power bills and investment in the renewable energy sector at risk by undermining the Renewable Energy Target (RET).”

“A  poll conducted by The Australian Institute found 64% of Liberal voters support an increased Target, while 43% of Liberal voters would support a more ambitious Target of 50% or more renewables by 2030.

“In recent weeks we’ve seen thousands  of people from all walks of life sign up to our ‘Stand up for Solar’ pledge calling for a national goal of at least 50% renewable energy including solar by 2030.

“Our Federal Government is clearly out of touch with what Australians and the rest of the world on supporting the growth of solar power. The overwhelming consensus is that Australians are demanding investment in clean energy,” said Ms O’Rourke.

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment

 Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

1 http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

 Read more about Stand up for Solar at: www.standupforsolar.org.au

WORLD ENERGY OUTLOOK URGES INVESTMENT OF BILLIONS IN CLEAN ENERGY, AUSTRALIA SHOULD STAKE ITS SHARE

The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook Report launched last night in London highlights the urgent need to accelerate the development of emerging renewable technologies that will transform the global energy system.

Increasing investment in renewable energy technologies in the power sector from $270 billion in 2014 to $400 billion in 2030 is a vital measure to ensure global energy-related emissions can peak as early as 2020 and at no net economic cost.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said Australia’s Federal Government was going against global trends with its push to slash investment in renewable energy such as solar through cuts to the Renewable Energy Target.

“The International Energy Agency is the latest reputable global organisation to highlight the overwhelming benefits of growing renewable energy sources including solar and the economic benefits that flow from it,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“It’s baffling as to why the Federal Government continues its ideologically-driven attacks on clean energy and remains a laggard on exploiting cleaner, cheaper renewable power that benefits all consumers.

“Australia has some of the best solar resources in the world. We should be investing in developing the technology and skills to make us a world leader in solar energy, not putting barriers on solar companies and people who want rooftop solar.

“This report shows there are billions of dollars in global investment in solar in the pipeline over coming decades.

“Australia will be left behind if it doesn’t set a national goal of at least 50% renewable energy by 2030.

“A national goal of at least 50% renewable energy by 2030 will help millions of families go solar, create tens of thousands of jobs and ensure billions in investment for our sunny country.

“A strong solar future is what Australians everywhere want to see. We need strong political leadership who will deliver it,” she said.

Media contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

IKEA shows leadership with $600 million investment in clean energy

IKEA shows leadership with $600 million investment in clean energy

Solar Citizens has welcomed today’s announcement by one of the world’s largest brands that it will invest $600 million in renewable energy, globally.

IKEA plans to transition to 100% renewable energy on all their stores by 2020.

National Director of Solar Citizens Claire O’Rourke said IKEA was the latest global company to show how renewable energy made good business sense and the key role companies could play in growing clean energy sources including solar.

“Today’s announcement shows that the solar revolution is in full swing - $600 million worth of investment is an incredible step for showing the power of the business community in clean energy investment,” said Ms O’Rourke

“Companies like IKEA are leading on clean energy at a time when our government is taking us backwards.”

“It’s time our Government work up to the fact that business and community are 10 steps ahead of them.”

“Recent polling by Essential Research shows that 71% of Australians want more emphasis on solar power, not less.

“With business and communities around Australia and the globe supporting the transition to renewable energy, it beggars belief that the Government isn’t on board.

“IKEA has set a shining example of leadership on renewable energy. It’s time our Federal Government recognises Australia is being left behind and act immediately to set down a more ambitious solar and renewable energy goal of at least 50% by 2030,”said Ms O’Rourke.

 

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment

Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404