Media - Solar Citizens

Media Releases

Policy holding back development of solar: new report

Solar Citizens welcomes the new report released by the Clean Energy Council which shows that while renewable energy is more popular than ever, more needs to be done to secure good policies to ensure solar can power Australia.

“It’s great to see so many people joining the solar revolution, but is a big concern to see that warnings made to the Federal Government about job losses and drops in investment now ringing true,” Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said.

“There are now over 1.4 million solar homes in Australia and in 2014 thirteen percent of Australia’s electricity came from renewable sources,” said Ms O’Rourke

“South Australia and Tasmania generated 40% and 95% respectively from renewable energy sources - these figures are impressive.”

“But it’s not all good news last year we saw a drop of 8.5% on rooftop solar installed and while the industry employs 20,000 people we saw a loss of 1,000 jobs.”

“These losses were due to the uncertainty created by the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) review.”

“Time and time again Australian businesses and communities are saying they want more solar, not less.”

“The Government must accept that by attempting to block renewable energy investment it is refusing to accept the reality that Australian families will power their homes with renewables as their main source of electricity in the near future,” said Ms O’Rourke

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment

Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

Solar the prefered electricity source for WA: more than 180,000 sun-powered homes

Media reports that new figures released by The Australian Bureau of Statistics show that Western Australian families are embracing solar, with more than 180,000 solar homes in Western Australia.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said these numbers show that solar is quickly becoming the prefered choice of power for Australian families.

“With more than 180,000 solar homes in Western Australia it’s clear that Western Australians are embracing solar as their number one choice for electricity,” Ms O’Rourke said today.

“These households are enjoying the many benefits of solar, taking control of their power bills and generating clean energy from the sun.”

“Recent polling by Essential Polling backs this up with 71% of Australians believing solar power should be Australia’s number one form of energy.

“With numbers like these the recent slashing of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) defies belief.

“The Target has helped 1.4 million Australian homes go solar, has created 24,000 jobs and has allowed families to take control of their power bills.”

“The Federal Government has put jobs, growth and investment in the renewable energy sector at risk by undermining the Target.”

“Over the last month I have been visiting communities across the county as part of our Stand Up For Solar campaign.”

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

“It’s time the Federal government realised they’re swimming against public opinion.”

“Australians are turning to solar in droves and the Federal Government faces a real risk of being left behind,” said Ms O’Rourke.

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment.

Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

To find more information on Stand Up For Solar head to: www.standupforsolar.org.au

Victoria’s solar homeowners rorted: unfair charges from networks

Solar Citizens calls on the Australian Energy Regulator to urgently investigate media reports that Victoria power networks, Citipower and Powercor have slapped an unnecessary up to $300 charge on Victoria solar homeowners.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said authorities must get to the bottom of the serious allegations of discriminatory practices and potential fees for services that were never rendered.

“These reports of unwarranted charges that Victorian power networks are charging solar households points to discrimination against hundreds of thousands of solar homes in Victoria with an outrageously unfair cost,” she said.

“Media reports suggest the power networks have been getting away with the up to $300 fee on solar homes for years. Thousands of solar families may have been hit with this charge, which could amount to millions of dollars.

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

“Just last month we had an incredible turnout of Victoria solar homeowners at our Stand up for Solar launch in Melbourne.

“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.

“Victorians clearly love solar and expect that they won’t be subjected to unfair charges.

“The Australian Energy Regulator needs to ensure that they protect solar homeowners and must urgently investigate the reports of discriminatory fees,” said Ms O’Rourke.

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment

Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

Queensland Competition Authority attacks solar households

Solar Citizens has today condemned the Queensland Competition Authority’s recommendation to slash the price of the feed in tariff for regional Queensland's solar homeowners.

Solar voters helped deliver a shock double-digit swing away from the LNP in Queensland after bitter attacks from former Premier Campbell Newman on solar home owners.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said many solar homeowners would be deeply disappointed with the determination - which is a worrying signal about the future of feed in tariffs for the rest of the state.

“The slashing of the QLD feed-in tariff is a clear move to discriminate against thousands of solar homes in Queensland,” she said.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to a fair price for solar homes owners, which is something 420,000 Queensland solar families support. This decision to cut tariffs from the QCA is a huge step backwards.

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

“To reduce their feed-in tariff places unnecessary strain on on families who are already struggling with rising cost of living.

“Just last week we had an incredible turnout of Queensland solar homeowners at our Stand up for Solar launch in Brisbane.

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

“Queenslanders clearly love solar and want to see it protected and strengthened.

“We urgently call on the Palaszczuk Government to restore the tariff and ensure the commitment made at the recent state election to ensure a fair price for solar power sent back to the grid is met,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment

Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

Solar homeowners unfairly targeted by SA power Networks

Solar Citizens has today slammed SA Power Networks for unfairly targeting solar homeowners by applying to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and asking them to introduce new taxes on solar homeowners.

“These reports are highly disturbing and are essentially a witch hunt on solar homeowners in South Australia,” said Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke

“Solar households are most common in lower income suburbs - the main reason these families go solar is to help with the rising cost of power bills.”

“The fact is solar homes reduces pressure on the network - charging solar households for this is nothing more than a money grab.

“The single biggest part of South Australian’s power bills are network costs - the poles and wires that have seen vast over-investment in recent years. Network costs make up as much as 60% of an average power bill.”

“There are more than 179,000 solar homeowners in South Australia and just last week we had an incredible turnout of South Australian solar homeowners at our Stand up for Solar launch.

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

“This is a clear case of unwarranted discrimination against solar homeowners - it’s way off the mark. Solar is helping families lower their power bills, generates clean energy and helps create jobs for South Australians.”

“The AER need to protect current and future solar homeowners and put a stop to this attempt to unfairly tax solar homeowners,” said Ms O’Rourke.

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment

Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

For more information on Stand up for Solar: www.standupforsolar.org.au

SOLAR TRUMPS THEM ALL: NEW POLL FINDS OVERWHELMING SUPPORT

Almost three-quarters of Australians think our nation should put more emphasis on producing domestic energy from solar power, according to an Essential Poll released today.

The new poll found that 71% of people think Australia should put more emphasis on solar power ahead of all other forms of electricity generation.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said people overwhelmingly want more solar and renewable energy and are sick of it being used as a political football.

“The debate about the transition of our energy system to clean forms of electricity is stuck in the mud with the Abbott Government attacking solar and slashing the Renewable Energy Target,” Ms O’Rourke said today.

“There’s a huge disconnect between what people want and what our political leaders are managing to achieve, which is a disappointment to most Australians who want to see clean energy power our nation.

“Australia has some of the best available sunshine in the world, placing us in prime position for generating our own solar and renewable energy on a mass scale.

“Almost seven times as many people want Australia to place more emphasis on solar power for meeting the nation’s energy needs than on coal - solar is streets ahead of all other sources when it comes to public opinion,” she said.

“But the vested interests of the big power companies and their special treatment by government are holding back lower power prices for all Australians, cleaner power, more diverse energy security, millions in investment and more jobs.

“There’s no reason we can’t become a solar powerhouse that exports our expertise and technology to global markets.

“Last week the International Renewable Energy Agency released a new report showing there are now more than 7.7 million people employed by the renewable energy industry, worldwide.

“Australia should stake its claim in this growing global industry and its new century jobs, which is why we’re calling on all our political leaders to Stand Up For Solar,” she said.

Claire O’Rourke available for interview.
Media contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

See the Stand Up For Solar campaign:
http://www.standupforsolar.org.au/

HAS SOLAR POWER BECOME TOO POPULAR IN AUSTRALIA?

The community’s overwhelming love of solar power has once again been confirmed with the release today of results from an Ipsos survey, commissioned by the federal Australian Renewable Energy Agency, according to Solar Citizens.

The Ipsos survey found 87% of Australians supported solar panels on homes as an energy source for Australia and it was almost three times as popular as coal or nuclear power.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said polls and survey consistently showed massive popular support for solar and other renewable energy, yet public policy lagged far behind.

“The community’s enthusiasm and willingness to put their own money into solar has not been matched by ambition and action from government, plain and simple,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“Australia has plentiful sun resources that place us in prime position for generating our own renewable energy and providing the know-how and expertise for meeting the global solar boom.

“Last week the International Renewable Energy Agency released a new report showing there are now more than 7.7 million people employed by the renewable energy industry, worldwide.

“Australia should stake its claim in this growing global industry and its new century jobs.

“The more popular solar becomes with households, the greater the push back that comes from vested interests in big power companies as they attempt to influence politicians to protect their outdated models which are holding back Australia’s energy transformation that will take place.

“These vested interests and their special treatment by government are holding back lower power prices for all Australians, cleaner power, more diverse energy security, millions in investment and more jobs.

“The findings of this survey suggest Australians from all walks of life and political persuasions are recognising the benefits of solar far outweigh the risks of coal and nuclear. It’s time our political leaders woke up and stood up for solar too,” she said.

 

Media contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

More on the Stand Up For Solar campaign: http://www.standupforsolar.org.au/  

NETWORK CHARGES RESPONSIBLE FOR SOARING POWER BILLS

The practice of ‘gold plating’ of poles and wires makes up at least 50 per cent of the cost of most Australian’s electricity bills and have been by far the biggest cause of rising power bills over the past five years, according to Solar Citizens.

National Director Claire O’Rourke said a recent Senate Inquiry into electricity prices found these high network costs occurred because of incentives by network regulators that rewarded significant spending in an electricity network that may not be needed.

“The millions of households who have installed solar PV are a game changer for energy generation in Australia,” she said.

“With rapid advances in battery storage technology, our nation is well-placed for distributed electricity generation, which will take pressure off the grid at peak demand times.

“It is no wonder that close to 1.4 million households have gone solar in response to rising power bills, driven largely by these network costs. Big companies have been caught out ‘gold plating’ the network while passing on to consumers the risk of inefficient investment and failing to anticipate changes in demand.

“Schemes to encourage the uptake of solar, like the Renewable Energy Target, work to bring down the cost of electricity for all power users.

“The Federal Government’s own Warburton report found that the full 41,000GWh target including rooftop and large scale solar would lower power costs for all Australians over coming years, whether they had rooftop solar installed or not. The Government has hurt Australian consumers by slashing the Target.

“Governments who care about rising power prices should really invest in household solar power and storage technologies to speed up cost savings across the network for all electricity users through reducing pressure on the grid.

“A recent Federal Senate Inquiry received submissions from 550 solar homeowners from across the country highlight how they felt they were being hit with unfair or hidden fees, saw an increase in service charges after installing solar, experienced exorbitant fees for installing poles and wires in rural areas and questionable practices from the big power companies.

“The government and big power companies should be working together to help struggling households by protecting solar, rather than attacking solar households,” she said.

Media contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

7.7 million renewable energy jobs boom worldwide: Australia falls behind

Solar Citizens welcomes a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) that shows there are now more than 7.7 million people employed by the renewable energy industry, worldwide.

“In the past year alone more than 1 million more people were employed by the renewable energy industry. As one of the fasting growing industries it is living up to its potential as a worldwide jobs growth powerhouse,” said Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke.

“Solar PV alone employes 2.5 million people around the world.

“Solar power has proven a game changer on the world energy market, with incredible benefits including, lower power bills, delivering clean energy and providing more than 7.7 million jobs.

“Yet our own government fails to see the benefits. Just last week the Abbott Government slashed our Renewable Energy Target (RET) which will hold back creation of jobs in their thousands.”

“There is now no clear vision for the future of jobs in solar and renewable energy beyond 2020 - there is a real risk that without clear policy Australia will fall behind countries like China, India, Germany, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Colombia who have some of the highest employment rates in renewable energy.”

“If the Abbott Government is serious about making job creation their top priority they need to look no further than solar and renewables.”

“Hundreds of solar homeowners, workers and community members who support solar have gathered at Stand Up for Solar events in Queensland, Richmond and Western Sydney to talk about the future of solar power.”

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

“Our plan would help see at least 20,000 jobs created in the next 15 years. It’s time the Government listened to the community and put jobs in solar and renewables first.” said Ms O’Rourke

 

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment

Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

SOLAR AND RENEWABLE JOBS, INVESTMENT: AUSTRALIA DESERVES BETTER

The decision announced today to slash the Renewable Energy Target will compromise Australia taking its proper place at the leading edge of the global boom in solar and renewable energy, according to Solar Citizens.

National Director Claire O’Rourke said it was disingenuous for the Liberal government to claim the diminished Target would ‘protect’ electricity consumers when its own Warburton report showed having more solar and renewables in the network would have reduced power costs for all households - whether they have rooftop solar installed or not.

“Bipartisan agreement on a scaled back Target will benefit no one but the big power companies who will receive a $45 billion windfall from holding solar and wind investment back in Australia,” she said.

“By disrupting certainty and undermining the Target for the past 18 months, the Federal government has sold out households, with recent polling finding 75% of Australians support an increase in the Renewable Energy Target, not a decrease.

“More than 1.3 million households have already installed rooftop solar power - the technology is proven and ready to go.

“Australia has among the cheapest solar power in the world, has been chosen as a prime test site for battery storage and is second to none in technology and innovation.

“Winding back the Renewable Energy Target will take Australian renewable energy generation backwards.

“Today’s announcement is out of step with community expectations and we will see a groundswell of people all around Australia stand up for more ambition for clean energy in coming months.

“Already hundreds of solar homeowners and other community members who support solar and renewables have gathered at events in Melbourne and across Queensland to pledge support for a national goal of at least 50% solar and renewable energy by 2030.

“The community is invested and excited by the renewable energy revolution, it’s time our leaders stopped playing politics and protecting the vested interests of the big power companies,” she said.

 

Claire O'Rourke is available for interview

Media contact: Amy Gordon  0410 631 404