Media - Solar Citizens

Media Releases

Abbott Government’s White Paper reinforces their opposition to the future of solar in Australia

Today’s release of the Federal Government’s Energy White paper fails to recognise the incredible opportunity of solar and renewable energy in Australia’s future energy mix.

Once again the Federal Government has shown their lack of understanding for what Australians want, more solar, not less, said Solar Citizens National Campaigner Taegen Edwards.

“The government are ignoring the golden opportunity provided by solar and renewable energy to lower the cost of power bills.” said Ms Edwards.

“Multiple sources including the government’s own Warburton Review of the Renewable Energy Target found that rooftop solar and renewable energy will work to reduce electricity prices for all Australian families by 2020.

“Investment in renewables has dramatically decreased because of the government's attack on renewables. This paper signals that this attack will continue.”

“Recent polling by Essential Research shows that an overwhelming 59% of Australians support an expansion of the RET to 50% by 2030. It’s clear that there is more leadership in the community than there is in Canberra.”

“Australians are demanding a long term vision for expanded solar and renewable energy, after all it just makes sense to use the abundant natural resources we have - and we have plenty of sunshine.

“The release of this white paper just reinforces the government's complete opposition to the solar industry.”

“The government need to stop their incessant attacks on solar and listen to the Australian people when they say they want more solar, not less.” said Ms Edwards.

 

Taegen Edwards is available for comment

Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

Stand Up For Solar: A new campaign with a strong solar vision for Australia

Solar Citizens today launched a new national campaign ‘Stand Up For Solar, that will see thousands of Australians demonstrate strong support for ambitious solar policy. “Stand Up For Solar comes at a time when solar and renewable energy is under constant attack from our Federal Government and the big power companies,” Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said.

“Stand Up For Solar is a refreshing plan to see 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 with the rising cost of electricity bills,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“Australians are crying out for more solar not less. The many benefits of solar including lower power bills, clean energy and thousands of solid Australian jobs are well-recognised across the community.

“Before the Federal election there was bipartisan support for the Renewable Energy Target, but now the Government is breaking its word with constant threats to destroy the Target - what’s left is an industry in dire straits.”

“Recent polling by Essential Research shows that an overwhelming 59% of Australians support a 50% RET by 2030. It’s clear that there is more leadership in the community than there is in Canberra.”

“Australians are demanding a long term vision for expanded solar and renewable energy, after all it just makes sense to use the abundant natural resources we have - and we have plenty of sunshine. 

“So far the Abbott Government has failed to deliver. Stand Up For Solar will demonstrate that communities all over Australia want to see our politicians keep their promises and ensure a strong solar and renewable energy future,” said Ms O'Rourke.

 

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment.

Media Contact: Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

 

Stand up for Solar key asks

1. A strong solar and renewables goal

Australians want to see more solar and renewables, not less. A national goal of at least 50% of our energy generated by renewables by 2030 will help millions of families go solar, create tens of thousands of jobs and ensure billions in investment for our sunny country.

2. A fair go for solar owners

Going solar should be easy but big power companies simply aren’t playing fair. We want to see an end to discriminatory fees for solar owners, a fair feed in tariff for power fed back into the grid and a specialist solar ombudsman to protect consumers’ rights in every state and territory.

3. Helping households with soaring power bills

The only guaranteed way people can take control of spiralling power costs is by installing solar. We want to see a strong national program to support low-income households and renters switch to solar and help with the rising cost of living.

Read more about the campaign and take the pledge at

www.standupforsolar.org.au

New Scorecard launches: NSW’s solar future at stake in weekend poll

Solar Citizens have launched their 2015 NSW Election Solar Scorecard, so when the people of NSW head to the polls on Saturday they are able to “Vote 1 Sun”.

“Our Solar Scorecard lays out the key solar policy positions of the major parties, so that voters are able to make an informed choice this Saturday,” said Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke.

“The Greens and The Christian Democratic party showed the strongest commitment to supporting solar in the next term of government. Labor also submitted a positive plan in response to the solar policy questions we put to them.

“While the Liberal Party stated their commitment to a solar future in NSW, their responses to our questions lacked the policy detail to back that up. They refused to commit to a fair price for solar fed into the grid and did not rule out discriminatory fees for solar homeowners.”

“By not giving concrete commitments to protect and grow solar Liberal Party leader, Mike Baird, has missed a golden opportunity to help people take control of rising power bills.”

“There are currently almost 300,000 solar households in NSW - all parties would do well to remember this.”

“NSW can take a leading role in the solar revolution, but only if its political leaders listen to the majority of the voters who want a solar future.”

“Solar Citizens urges all candidates contesting the NSW election to put the support of households who want to benefit from solar front and centre in the final days before the poll.”

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment

Media contact: Amy Gordon  0410 631 404

 

Solar Citizens NSW election six policy asks:

1. NO DISCRIMINATORY SOLAR FEES

Does your party guarantee to prevent fees and charges which discriminate against solar owners and people installing storage systems?

2. A FAIR PRICE FOR SOLAR FED INTO THE GRID

There is currently no regulated minimum price that NSW solar owners are paid for the electricity produced by their solar system, fed into the grid and on-sold by their retailer. Individual solar households have little power to negotiate with retailers and many more solar households will be in this position after the Solar Bonus Scheme wraps up in 2016.

Does your party commit to setting a regulated minimum retailer-paid feed-in tariff, set at a fair level for consumers who generate power and feed it back into our state’s energy supply?

3. REVERSE AUCTION TO BOOST COMMUNITY & LARGE-SCALE SOLAR

Will your party commit to launching a reverse auction process to support community and large-scale solar projects (similar to the scheme that has proven so successful in the ACT*) to allow people who cannot put solar on their own rooftop to benefit from the renewable energy revolution?    

4.TRIAL SOLAR STORAGE - THE WAY OF THE FUTURE

Does your party commit to launching a trial of solar with storage - the next big thing - at a household level (in 1,000 NSW homes) and also at a neighbourhood level to test innovation of technology and business models that will allow solar to run day and night and help maintain our state’s energy supply?

5. ENSURE A SMARTER NSW POWER GRID

Does your party commit to ensure networks will take the necessary measures to accommodate more solar in the grid in the future, enable innovative elements like virtual net metering and peer-to-peer solar energy trading and other aspects of a smarter, decentralised grid?

6. STAND UP FOR NSW SOLAR JOBS – PROTECT THE RET

Will your party call on the Federal Government to drop its attempt to slash the 41,000 GWh national Renewable Energy Target, that supports thousands of NSW solar jobs, helps with the price of installation and lowers the wholesale price of power for all consumers, and instead to advocate for the expansion of the Target to at least 50% by 2030?

Solar Citizens welcome Senator Lazarus’ continued support for RET

Solar Citizens has welcomed news by Senator Glenn Lazarus that he has reaffirmed his support for a full 41,000 Gwh Renewable Energy Target (RET) 

A statement released by the Senator today confirmed he is strongly opposed to any attempt by the Abbott Government to reduce the RET. Senator Lazarus is also pushing both parties to aim for a higher Target.

“Senator Lazarus clearly understands the many benefits of solar and that Australians want more solar not less," said Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke.

"Senator Lazarus is keeping his promise to protect solar, renewable jobs and investment in Australia. 

“But the Government is breaking its word with their threats to wind back the RET - the result has deeply undermined the renewable energy industry.” 

“The Target is good for all Australians, whether they have rooftop solar or not. 

Cutting the RET will increase the cost of rooftop solar, making it harder for Australian households to take control of their power bills.”  

“In Senator Lazarus’ home state of Queensland alone, more than 400,000 solar households have already saved at least $213.6 million on power bills.

“Recent polling shows that the Target is hugely popular, with 89% of Australians wanting to keep the Target, including 64% of Liberal voters.”

“Australians are relying on Senators like Senator Lazarus to stay strong and save the Target from this deliberate attack from the Abbott Government that has caused enormous levels of harm to the renewable energy sector.” she said.

 

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment 

Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404 

WA Government signals unfair attack on solar homes

Media reports today that WA Energy Minister Mike Nahan plans to charge solar householders higher fixed network charges are nothing but a discriminatory attack on solar households, according to Solar Citizens.

“Minister Nahan has unfairly blamed the state’s solar households for rising energy prices – he should immediately apologise and rule out any plans to slug them more for network charges,” Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said.

“The Minister is playing politics with households who have proved they can lower their electricity costs and produce clean energy with rooftop solar,” she said.

Reports today said the WA government was proposing to increase charges for all electricity users, but the effect of proposed changes could see solar households paying more.

“There are close to 175,000 homes with rooftop solar power installed in Western Australia - these proposed charges are a blatant attempt to raise revenue from the very people who have made the sensible choice to reduce their electricity demand,” Ms O’Rourke said.

"Similar discriminatory charges were considered by the Newman government in Queensland in 2013, and they experienced a significant voter backlash. 

“Governments who genuinely care about rising power prices should congratulate consumers who install solar power, not wage unfair attacks on families who are taking active steps to manage their household budget.

Media contact: Amy Gordon  0434 489 533

Labor’s renewable energy policy welcomed ahead of the NSW election

Solar Citizens has welcomed the announcement by Labor leader Luke Foley that if elected Labor will commit to stronger support of renewable energy and household solar.

Labor’s renewable energy policy promises:

  • Legislate a NSW 20 per cent renewable energy target by 2020;

  • A $14 million renewable energy hub;

  • Protections for solar households and ensure a fair price for those who sell excess energy back to the grid;

  • Purchase electricity for NSW Government departments and agencies from renewable sources where possible.

Solar Citizens National Director, Claire O’Rourke, said the policy announcement from Labor today was significant for people in NSW who want to take control of their household power bills by going solar.

“More than 260,000 NSW homes have already installed solar power to cut their electricity bills.”

“Rooftop solar means cheaper power for homeowners, not just those who have solar. It also means new jobs and less polluting power generation.”

“In January, at least 550 solar homeowners told a Senate Inquiry they felt like they’ve been unfairly treated by the big energy companies, including being hit with unfair or hidden charges and increases in service charges after installing solar.

“The next State Government is responsible for protecting solar households from these types of discriminatory dealings, for securing a fair price for the clean energy they provide to the grid and for making sure solar and other renewable industries thrive in NSW.”

“This is a positive first step to protect solar households from unfair fees, ensure that household power bills come down and jobs in the renewable energy industry are created.”

 

Claire O’Rourke is available for interview


Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

PM’s captain’s call to harm renewable energy target hurts consumers

Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised at the last election to support solar energy and grow jobs in the industry, but it has now reneged on that promise under pressure from the big power companies, according to Solar Citizens. 

National Director Claire O’Rourke said the Abbott government went to the 2013 election promising to support the Renewable Energy Target but broke its word once elected, launching a ferocious attack on renewables that is already causing havoc to Australia’s industry and could leave it in ruins.

“Solar Citizens is calling on the Abbott Government to support the best interests of Australia’s electricity consumers by keeping its promise to support the Renewable Energy Target of 41,000 gigawatt target,” Ms O’Rourke said today.

“Abbott’s unprecedented attacks on renewable energy are creating investor uncertainty on renewables, holding back jobs and denying savings for all Australian electricity consumers, whether they have rooftop solar or not.

“The move to break this promise on renewable energy was a ‘captain’s call’ from the Prime Minister . It is a policy that hurts the average Australian and benefits only the big power companies. Multiple sets of modelling demonstrates that the Target works to bring down the wholesale price of power, helping families with their power bills.

“Abbott’s assault on solar and renewable energy risks losing more than 8,000 jobs and billions of dollars of investment in renewable energy, one of Australia’s most successful new industries.

“We call on the Federal Government to quickly restore jobs and growth in the renewables sector in Australia by calling off negotiations to water down the Target and showing it supports consumers by restoring its support for the full 41,000 gigawatt RET,” she said.

Media contact: Amy Gordon  0410 631 404

Abbott compromises power price savings for all Australians with ‘compromise’ on Renewable Energy Target

Solar Citizens today warned a push by the Abbott Government for a ‘compromise’ that will slash the Renewable Energy Target (RET) will lock in more expensive power prices for all Australians.



Solar Citizens Campaigns Director Taegen Edwards said the Government had ignored the advice of its own Warburton Review that found having rooftop solar power and renewables in the nation’s energy mix brings down power prices in the long-term.

“The Abbott Government’s broken promise on support for RET puts thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment at risk and ultimately pushes up power prices for everyone,” Ms Edwards said.

“The Target is good for all Australians, whether they have rooftop solar or not. Cutting the RET will increase the cost of rooftop solar, making it harder for Australian households to take control of their power bills.”

“Australians have a love affair with solar, with more than 1.3 million Australian homes generating power from the sun.”

“Recent polling shows that the Target is hugely popular, with 89% of Australians wanting to keep or strengthen the Target, including 64% of Liberal voters.”

“Last week Clean Energy Finance Corporation Chief Executive, Oliver Yates told a Senate Estimates committee that the Government had taken the industry back 12 years.”

“The clean energy industry is struggling with the uncertainty of the negotiations.”

“The Abbott Government can show that they’re in touch with the Australian public and the renewable energy industry by committing to the full 41,000 Gwh Target, “ Ms Edwards said.

Taegen Edwards is available for comment

Media Contact: Amy Gordon, 0410 631 404

Abbott’s attack on renewable energy holds back power cost savings and growth of industry

The Abbott Government’s continued attack on the Renewable Energy Target is a broken election promise that is destroying the renewable energy industry and holding back savings on household power bills, according to Solar Citizens.

Since being elected, Tony Abbott has waged a ferocious attack on renewables that is already harming the industry in Australia and could run it into the ground, Solar Citizens National Campaigns Director Taegen Edwards said today.

“Abbott’s backflip in support for solar energy puts thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment at risk and ultimately pushes up power prices for everyone,” she said.

“Business needs consistent policy to invest and householders need access to solar and other forms of renewable power to reduce their electricity bills.

“The move to break this promise on renewable energy was another bad ‘captain’s call’ from Abbott. It shows he is out of step with the community, many in his own party and other political leaders who want more, not less renewable energy in the country’s power mix.

“The Renewable Energy Target is extremely popular, with polls showing 89% of Australians want to keep or strengthen the Target, including 64% of self-identified Liberal voters. Prime Minister Abbott should be listening to the people rather than making decisions that only benefit the big power companies.

“Abbott’s assault on renewable energy risks losing more than 8,000 jobs and billions of dollars of investment in renewable energy, one of Australia’s most successful and promising new industries.

“We call on the Federal Government to restore jobs and growth in the renewables sector in Australia by restoring its support for the full 41,000 Gwh Target,” Ms Edwards said  

 

Taegen Edwards is available for comment


Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0421 367 175

Solar Citizens welcomes NSW Greens election commitments to rooftop solar and calls on all parties contesting election to support solar

Solar Citizens welcomes the NSW Greens’ renewable energy policy announcement and its commitment to support and grow household rooftop solar energy in the state.

The Green’s renewable energy plan includes setting up new public sector agencies that will give advice and financial support to help households and small businesses save money on electricity bills by making the shift to solar, with direct assistance to the low income and vulnerable.  

They have also committed to finance rooftop solar and to invest in a smart grid improving the ability of household and business owners to buy and sell the clean, solar energy produced on their rooftops.   

Solar Citizens Campaigns Director Taegen Edwards said more than 260,000 NSW households had already invested in rooftop solar as an effective way of reducing their power bills and the Green’s plan would help that number grow.

“The Greens are to be congratulated on their election commitment to making NSW a leader on renewable energy,” Ms Edwards said today.

“A study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems found solar power will be the cheapest form of energy for Australia within a decade. The cost of solar is predicted to fall to between AUD $0.05 and $0.15 per kilowatt hour by 2025.

Solar Citizens also welcomes the Greens support for state legislation to insulate NSW’s current and future renewable energy generators against any reduction in the federal government's Renewable Energy Target.

“We call on all parties contesting the NSW Election to take action in support of this clean, cost-effective energy source. NSW is lucky enough to have abundant solar resources and we should make the most of it to power our homes, businesses and economy.

“The next State Government is responsible for making sure solar and other renewable industries are supported so household power bills come down, and new investment and jobs in these promising industries are created for NSW.”

Taegen Edwards is available for comment

Media contact: Amy Gordon, 0410 631 404