Media - Solar Citizens

Media Releases

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

Victoria leads on the way forward for solar and renewables

Solar Citizens welcomes the news that Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has committed to reintroducing a Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET).

“After the Federal Government took a wrecking ball to the Federal Target late last week, it’s encouraging to see leadership coming from State Governments on renewable energy,” said Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke.

“Premier Andrews is making job creation in renewable energy and lowering the cost of living a top priority - it’s an ambitious move, but also a sensible one for Victoria.”

“This Target would help create jobs, lower family's power bills and allow people to produce their own clean energy.”

“Where the Federal Government is lacking a sensible approach on renewable energy, it is only logical that State Governments should step in to make sure jobs and investment are created.”

“We’re already seeing a rooftop revolution across Victoria, with more than 214,000 solar households.”

“These families have already saved about $120 million on their power bills.”

“Australians are demanding leadership on renewable energy, they want to see more solar, not less and a VRET could help millions of Victorians go solar,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment

Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

HARM TO RENEWABLE JOBS, INVESTMENT CONTINUES

Solar Citizens today welcomed Labor Cabinet’s rejection of the Abbott Government’s latest attempt to cut the Renewable Energy Target (RET), which keeps a 2-yearly mandated review.

National Director Claire O’Rourke said the inclusion of a frequent review was a dog whistle to the big power companies, locking in special treatment for fossil-fuel energy sources and sustaining uncertainty in renewable energy investment.

The toxic ongoing political attack on renewable energy such as solar and wind is placing more than 8,000 jobs at risk and threatens solar companies looking at installing big solar projects, Ms O’Rourke said.

“The underhanded tactics employed to scale back the Target and disadvantage renewable energy benefit no one but the big power companies who will make a $45 billion windfall from holding solar and wind back,” she said.

“Meanwhile, households will continue to pay more for power and miss their chance for generating their own clean energy.

“More than 1.3 million households have already installed rooftop solar power - the technology is proven and ready to go. What’s missing is a failure by our politicians who are way behind the majority of Australians excited by the potential of the solar revolution.

“Recent polling from The Australia Institute shows 75% of Australians support an increase in the Renewable Energy Target, not a decrease.

“Every day the Abbott Government continues to attack renewable energy will take Australian renewable energy generation backwards.

“Hundreds of solar homeowners and other community members who support solar have gathered at Stand Up for Solar events in Queensland and at the Richmond Town Hall last week in Melbourne to talk about the future of solar power.

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

“Our political leaders can’t deliver the energy system for the next century with an outdated policy from the last. World markets are changing, we must change and innovate with them,” she said.

Media contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

Solar homeowners deliver hundreds of letters to Labor and call on them to keep their election promises on solar power

Solar Citizens will tomorrow deliver more than 650 individual letters from Queensland residents to Minister for Energy Mark Bailey calling on the State Government to implement their election promises to grow and protect solar power in Queensland.

The call to turn words into action comes as the Palaszczuk Government will reach their milestone first 100 days in power on Thursday 14th May.

“The letters come from all over Queensland and contain messages from solar users, solar workers and other locals who support the many benefits of solar”, said Solar CItizens Director of Campaigns and Organising Dan Scaysbrook.

Before the election the incoming Palaszczuk Government made a series of promises to solar households, including setting up a review to determine a fair price for solar fed into the grid - considering consumer interests above those of the big power companies - and a target to reach 1 million solar rooftops in Queensland by 2020.

“The election promises made before the State Election will go a long way in winding back the previous government’s attacks on solar,” Mr Scaysbrook said today.

“The Palaszczuk Government shouldn’t wait another 100 days to show they are serious about the growth of jobs and solar in Queensland and keep their election promises.”

“The faster the Palaszczuk Government delivers on their promises, the sooner Queenslanders can go solar and help thousands more households save money on their soaring household power bills.

“Solar Citizens’ new campaign ‘Stand Up For Solar’ was launched in Queensland a fortnight ago with over 300 people attending events on the Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane.

“The campaign asks both federal and state governments to take action to protect and grow solar throughout Australia and Solar Citizens will be asking Minister Bailey to get behind it.”

“More than 420,000 Queensland homes have already installed solar power to cut their electricity bills. The plan to increase that number to 1 million is good for jobs, good for helping households address the cost of living and good for the Queensland economy. We call on the Government to get things moving.” Mr Scaysbrook said.

Some typical statements from the letters collected by Solar Citizens include:
“Hope your Government will now encourage rather than discourage the solar electric industry to create jobs and sustainable development for the future. This is what you have promised us.” - Amy-Rose, Sunshine Coast.
“I am particularly interested in your progress in the solar arena. The previous govt seemed to be doing everything possible to get rid of solar power generation and particularly feed in payments. (At one time 44 cents was said to be reasonable because that was what the govt. had to pay power stations) It almost seemed that the govt was in the coal mining business and not governing in the best interests of the people. Good luck with your projects” - Harold, Ingham

Dan Scaysbrook is available for comment

Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

What: Delivery of more than 650 letters to Energy Minister Mark Bailey from solar supports who want Labor to keep their election promises on renewable energy
Where: Brisbane City Ministerial Office
When: 9am 12th May

Solar Citizens welcome Mike Nahan’s back down from attacks on solar households

What: Several solar homeowners will deliver a letter and petition to Minister Nahan’s office to demand he protect solar homeowners

When: 11th May 2015
Where: Dumas House
Time: 2:45pm

Solar Citizens have welcomed reports that WA Treasurer Mike Nahan has backed down from introducing discriminatory price rises for solar home owners in this week’s State Budget. However they are calling on the Barnett Government to go much further to protect and grow solar in WA.

Following the news Perth residents will today deliver a letter and petition to Minister Nahan’s office to demand he go further and protect solar homeowners.

“Reports that Treasurer Nahan has backflipped on plans to force solar homes to pay increased fixed fees is good news, and show that he is listening to Western Australians who want to see more solar power, not less,” said Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke.

“More than 3000 Western Australians signed a petition to Treasurer Nahan to voice their concerns about him unfairly blaming the state’s solar households for rising energy prices, so it is good to see this response.”

“However, reports that the Barnett Government plan to allow electricity companies to decide what to charge solar homes in the future is extremely concerning and shows they are still in the dark ages with their approach to solar power.”

“Allowing power companies to increase fees would be incredibly unfair for solar homeowners. It will be hard for individual households to get a fair deal from their power company.

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

“Australians are crying out for more ambition on solar power and renewable energy.”

“Solar Citizens new campaign ‘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,”

“Will Energy Minister Mike Nahan and the WA Government show they support solar households and commit to our plan?”

“Minister Nahan should use this opportunity to help protect and grow solar in WA and not wage attacks on families who are trying to lower their power bills,” said Ms O’Rourke

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment

Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

ACT LEADS CHARGE WITH NEXT STAGE OF LARGE SCALE SOLAR PROJECT

Solar Citizens has welcomed the ACT Government’s call today for Expressions of Interest to build a 50-megawatt solar farm in the capital region.

The ACT has become a national leader by setting an ambitious target of 90 per cent of energy coming from renewable energy by 2020.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said federal and state leaders should follow the shining example set by the ACT and lift their support for large-scale solar and other renewable energy projects.

“The ACT Government has today shown faith in the benefits of joining the global move toward solar power rather than playing politics to attack renewables,” she said.

“It’s great to see leadership with sensible, long-term plans for making our energy generation cheaper and cleaner with renewable sources.

“ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell is also engaging his fellow ministers from seven different jurisdictions to bypass toxic national policies and boost renewables uptake at the state and territory level.

“In stark contrast, a cut in the Renewable Energy Target will risk Australia falling behind other nations in realising the innovation, economic growth and jobs that come with the renewables revolution.

“Recent polling shows that 75% of Australians support an increase in the Renewable Energy Target. More than 1.3 million Australian families with rooftop solar are enjoying the benefit of lower power bills and doing their part by producing clean energy.

“In a country boasting the solar resources of Australia, it makes sense for all governments to ensure we have more access to solar energy, not less,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Claire O'Rourke is available for interview

Media contact; Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

Christine Milne a Shining Light on Renewable Energy in Australia

Solar Citizens want to take this opportunity to thank Senator Christine Milne for all of her tireless efforts in supporting the growth and protection of renewable energy in Australia.

“Senator Milne has been a real driver and leader on renewable energy and has paved a way for the incredible potential of solar power in Australia to be realised.” said Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke.

“Senator Milne has played a huge role in over 1.3 million Australian families enjoying the many benefits of solar like lower power bills and producing clean energy.”

“The Abbott Government would do well to take a leaf out of her book and work to grow and protect solar in Australia.”

“Recent polling shows that 75% of Australians support an increase in the Renewable Energy Target. Clearly Senator Milne listened to the Australian community when they said they wanted more solar, not less.”

“We welcome Senator Richard Di Natale as new Greens leader and look forward to working with him to make sure all Australian families have access to solar.” said Ms O’Rourke.

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment.

Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

Australia’s first floating solar system highlights the enormous benefits of embracing renewable energy

Solar Citizens has today welcomed the opening of Australia’s first ever floating solar system in South Australia.

“It’s incredible to see companies like Infratech Industries using innovation and embracing the solar revolution,” said Solar Citizen’s National Director Claire O’Rourke.

“South Australia will see many benefits from this project including the creation of new jobs and investment in the state.

“This new solar system will generate about 57% more power than land-based systems.

“It shows that inspiring and innovative projects can become reality when state governments provide solar businesses with a supportive policy environment.

“South Australia has shown the way, now it’s time for other states and the Commonwealth to get behind delivering more renewable energy, not less.

“When business and the Australian people are crying out for leadership on renewable energy it’s extremely disappointing that our political leaders are ignoring their calls.

“The uncertainty that the Government has created around the Renewable Energy Target (RET) has had a devastating impact on the industry.

“If the RET is protected and strengthened it will help to create 20,000 new Australian jobs by 2020.

“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% RET by 2030. It’s clear that there is more leadership in the community than there is in Canberra when it comes to a sun-powered future.

“It’s time for all of our political leaders to follow the example of businesses like Infratech and start investing in renewable energy and Australian jobs,” said Claire O’Rourke

Claire O’Rourke is available for comment

Media Contact: Amy Gordon 0410 631 404

See more about Stand up for Solar at: http://www.standupforsolar.org.au/