Media - Solar Citizens

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Federal Government Can’t Wash Its Hands of a Renewable Energy Future

Solar Citizens says Prime Minister Turnbull and Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg cannot wash their hands of Australia’s energy policy following reports the government is moving away from implementing a Clean Energy Target.

“Australians want sensible policies to deliver clean and affordable energy and all Australians will be let down if the Federal Government continues to wash its hands of any responsibility to deliver it,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

“It’s an absolute outrage that the people running the country can’t come up with sensible policies for clean and affordable power and seem to be too busy playing politics in Canberra to act wisely,” Ms O’Rourke said.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill today indicated the states could go it alone with a clean energy target after urging the Federal Government to get out of the way.

“It’s welcome news that South Australia is looking to bring states together around a joint energy plan - what other choice do states have if the Federal Government can’t get it together and make a plan that helps people with rising power bills?,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“Renewable energy and storage is now the cheapest form of new electricity. The time is now for a plan to use Australia’s abundant sun, wind and waves to power our nation. If the Federal Government walks away from any national clean energy target, this transition will be held back and push up power prices for everyone,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Solar Citizens with GetUp! jointly commissioned the Homegrown Power Plan which puts forward policies to transition Australia to 100% renewable energy by 2030.


For media inquiries: Steph Gray 0425 543 006

Queensland’s solar boom leads the country – cutting bills and creating jobs

For the first time, Queensland has overtaken NSW in creating jobs in the renewable energy industry.

The monthly Renewable Energy Index calculates there are almost 6,500 Queenslanders working in the renewable energy sector.

“This is a win-win-win situation for Queensland – the solar boom is creating jobs, cutting power bills and reducing climate pollution” said Solar Citizens Queensland Campaign Manager Louise Matthiesson.

“Right now there are 20 large-scale renewable energy projects under construction in the Sunshine State.

“Those projects are spread throughout regional Queensland, from Normanton to Dalby and they are creating enough jobs to employ 5,203 people full time for a year.

“The Sunshine State is becoming the Sun-powered State. We simply don’t need another expensive, dirty, coal fired power station.

“Families and businesses are also joining the solar boom, with 4000 rooftop solar systems installed in Queensland during August.

The report calculates that these new rooftop solar systems will deliver $47 million in power bill savings for Queenslanders over the next 10 years.

“That’s an average saving of over $1000 a year for every family and business that went solar during August.

The rooftop solar revolution continues to support jobs and small businesses across Queensland, with 1,287 jobs created installing rooftop solar systems last month.

“We know that many people on modest incomes invest in solar because it pays for itself over just a few years, but Government must do more to help renters and disadvantaged households share in the benefits of the solar boom” she said.

Media contact: 
Louise Matthiesson, Solar Citizens Queensland Campaign Manager ph. 0406 041 428

Further information:
The monthly Renewable Energy Index is produced by respected industry analysts Green Energy Markets and funded by GetUp! The full report can be downloaded here.

Fairer access to solar a win for regional Qld consumers, small businesses

Today’s announcement by the Palaszczuk Government to expand the feed-in tariff for rooftop solar in regional Queensland is sensible policy that stands to help consumers and businesses, says Solar Citizens.

Households and businesses on the Ergon network in regional Queensland will be able to receive the mandated feed-in tariff of 10.1c/kWh for rooftop solar systems sized up to 30kW instead of 5kW.

“This is great news for solar and great news for regional Queensland households and businesses,” said Shani Tager, Senior Solar Campaigner at Solar Citizens.

“Broadening the feed-in tariff program to include bigger rooftop solar systems is a game changer for small businesses and households in regional Queensland who are struggling with the costs of electricity,” she said.

“Installing rooftop solar is the only guaranteed way for everyday Queenslanders to take control of rising power bills.

“This is exactly the sort of policy that’s needed to increase the uptake of rooftop solar and meet the Government’s commitment of 1 million solar roofs (3 gigawatts) by 2020.

“Solar puts downward pressure on power bills because it helps take the stress off the network at peak times, such as when everyone switches on their air conditioners on hot days. This announcement will mean more solar on rooftops all over regional Queensland, helping all electricity consumers in the Sunshine State with their power prices.

“Queenslanders know that harvesting the power from the sun is the best way to go with over 520,000 households and businesses taking power back into their own hands and generating clean, cheap solar power on their own rooftops.


Media contact: Shani Tager, 0432 050 809

LNP renewables roadmap a dead end for clean energy

The LNP has come to the table with a renewable energy plan but it’s sorely lacking says advocacy organisation Solar Citizens.

In Townsville at the Solar Council’s Powering North Queensland Summit, the
LNP launched their ‘Powering Renewable Energy 5 Point Plan’ while Premier Palaszczuk reiterated her commitment to a 50% renewable energy target by 2030.

“This needs to be the start of renewable energy policy announcements from both parties - there is much more to be done,” said Shani Tager, Senior Solar Campaigner at Solar Citizens.

“The LNP policy is sorely lacking in substance. Queensland has the lowest uptake of renewable energy in the country and there’s no time to waste in getting to 100% clean, cheap renewable energy asap.

“This isn’t a plan that can be taken seriously while the LNP muddies the water with a misguided attack on a 50% renewable energy target by 2030 and insists on pushing yesterday’s technology: dirty, coal-fired power generation.

“The LNP needs to come back with more sensible, detailed policy on the rapid, orderly transition to renewables, to provide the industry with the certainty it needs to bring investment, jobs and affordable renewable power to Queensland.

“Today’s summit makes clear that investment is happening here and now in renewable energy projects and that there is no future in coal-fired power stations.

“To make sure all Queenslanders can benefit from the global renewable energy boom, politicians of all stripes must commit to a robust renewable energy target, invest in large-scale renewable energy projects and ensure that household solar is able to continue its strong growth.

“Queenslanders know that harvesting the power from the sun is the best way to go with over 500,000 households and businesses taking power back into their own hands and generating clean, cheap solar power on their own rooftops.

“That’s more than 1 million solar voters who’ll head to the ballot box at the next election, which is a constituency politicians ignore at their peril.

“In the Sunshine State, going solar just makes sense. The major political parties need to do the right thing by Queenslanders and ensure our Sunshine State is a leader in the race to 100% clean, renewable energy sources,” Ms Tager said.

Media contact: Shani Tager, 0432 050 809

Victorian Renewable Energy Legislation good news for the state.

Solar Citizens applauds the Victorian Government’s leadership on renewable energy with the introduction of legislation for a Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) and the largest renewable energy auction in Australia of 650 megawatts.

“The VRET legislation and reverse auction are critical in getting Victoria on the path to 100% clean, renewable energy as soon and as cheaply as possible,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director, Solar Citizens.

“This is good news for Victoria, more renewable energy means more jobs, more investment and cheaper electricity bills.

“Victorians clearly love solar with over 300,000 households and small businesses generating clean power from rooftop solar, this news means even more households will be powered by the sun.

“We congratulate the Andrews government for their leadership on renewable energy.

“While the Federal Government is missing in action on renewable energy policy, we’re once again seeing the states and territories leading the way when it comes to ensuring Australia has a clean, renewable energy future.

Media contact: Shani Tager, 0432 050 809

Win for solar owners with solar charges dropped

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has dropped the proposal to let power network companies charge solar owners for feeding their electricity to the grid in the face of community opposition. [1]

“It was an outrageous proposal to begin with and has been rightly taken off the table. 2,500 solar owners across Australia made it very clear to the AEMC that this was an unacceptable approach and they should not be charged for exporting their clean solar power to the grid,” said Shani Tager, Senior Solar Campaigner, Solar Citizens.

“This is a big win for the 1.7 million Australian households that have stumped up their own money to put solar on their roof and take back control of their power bills.

“Rooftop solar delivers clear benefits across the community and solar owners should not be charged for their clean, renewable power.

“The big power stations don’t have to pay to export the energy they generate to the grid and solar households shouldn’t have to pay either.

“This is the second time that the AEMC have tried to introduce similar charges and have been forced to back down in the face of opposition by solar owners.

For media inquiries: Shani Tager, 0432 050 809


Building Solar Thermal in Port Augusta Shines Light on Australia’s Big Renewable Opportunity

Premier Jay Weatherill and the South Australian Government’s sensible decision to back building the one of the world’s biggest solar thermal plants with storage in Port Augusta shines a light on Australia’s opportunity to make an orderly transition to 100% renewable energy, according to Solar Citizens.

“Premier Jay Weatherill and the South Australian Government should be congratulated for listening to the community and backing solar thermal with storage in Port Augusta,” Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens said.

“South Australia is showing Australia what is necessary to get on with the job of getting us to a 100% solar and renewable-powered electricity supply. Building solar thermal in Port Augusta, plus the world’s biggest battery shines a light on how we power Australia with plentiful sun, wind and waves,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Solar Citizens said the Federal Government must now produce a plan to repower Australia with 100% renewable energy.

“24 hour solar power is a reality for Australia, right here, right now. It’s time for the Federal Government to help consumers by making an orderly transition to 100% renewable energy sources,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“South Australia will reap the benefits of taking action early to build renewables with storage. Now, it’s up to the Turnbull Government to help the rest of the nation catch up,” Ms O’Rourke said.

For media inquiries: Brami Jegan 0448 276 945

Policy Needed To Ensure All Benefit from Clean and Affordable Solar with Storage

Solar Citizens is urging all sides of politics to commit to policies that support all South Australians, regardless of income, to have access to rooftop solar with storage as it becomes more affordable than ever.

The call follows reports today citing energy expert Bruce Mountain’s analysis that solar with storage is now cheaper than grid electricity in our great state.

“Experts are now saying that rooftop solar with storage is the most affordable power option for South Australians, which is good news but our politicians must make sure all citizens can access the benefits of the rooftop revolution,” Dan Spencer South Australian campaigner with Solar Citizens said.

“There’s never been a better time to go solar and all across South Australia households have recognised this with solar installations booming and over 210,000 solar systems installed across our state” Mr Spencer said.

“Building an energy system that is clean and affordable starts with everyday South Australian’s rooftops. South Australian politicians should be putting forward policies like putting solar and batteries onto public housing to be used as a virtual power network for tenants and the broader community, a public interest retailer to support people on low incomes through the transition and to incentivise landlords to invest in solar and storage for renters,” he said.

“Already we’ve seen the government trial solar on public housing so some of the groundwork is underway - and that’s a good thing.

“We need policies and regulation that ensure a flexible electricity system where households can trade their cheap, clean sun-power with their neighbours and help power our schools, hospitals and small businesses.

“South Australia has a choice, get through the transition to clean energy or use it as an opportunity to secure a fair, clean and affordable power supply for all of us,” Mr Spencer said.

For media inquiries: Dan Spencer 0423 865 632


World’s biggest battery points way to renewable and storage powered future

Solar Citizens has welcomed the South Australian Government’s announcement that the world’s biggest battery will be built in South Australia, as an example for the world. After a tender involving 91 projects, Tesla was selected to partner with Neoen to pair the world’s biggest battery with Neoen’s Hornsdale wind farm near Jamestown.

“South Australia is leading the way with clean power and now storage for the rest of the country and the world to follow” Dan Spencer South Australian Campaigner with Solar Citizens said.

“The future is clear, renewable energy from the sun and the wind backed up with storage is the clean, affordable and reliable energy we all need and South Australia is now leading the way” Mr Spencer said.

Solar Citizens say the next step is for the South Australian Government to commit to purchasing power from solar thermal in Port Augusta with tender results expected soon.

“This is the first big step in repowering South Australia with 21st century renewables and storage. We hope the South Australian Government continues to lead by building solar thermal with storage in Port Augusta in the coming months” Mr Spencer said.

For media comment: Dan Spencer 0423 865 632

Budget reply speech points to a new solar age for NSW

The NSW Opposition Leaders Budget reply speech today made promising announcements in support of a solar owners and battery storage across NSW says Solar Citizens.

NSW ALP Opposition Leader Mr Foley, in his budget reply speech, promised a NSW Labor government will “provide a fair minimum solar tariff so that households with rooftop solar are paid fairly for the power they generate” and "massively increase solar energy generation on the rooftops of government buildings.” [1]

“We think this is an excellent initiative, and hope to see these promises become policies, and policies that are implemented with support across the parliament,” said Shani Tager, Senior Campaigner at Solar Citizens. 

“Today NSW Labor demonstrated that they are listening to the hundreds of thousands of solar owners in NSW who have been calling for a compulsory fair price for solar. Big energy companies can’t keep taking solar owners for a ride by paying them a pittance for the power they produce.

“This announcement follows recent moves by the current NSW Energy Minister to put in place a fairer price for solar and again congratulate him and his team on these efforts. Getting policies on solar right is important for everyone.

“What we need right now, in NSW, and across the country, is a true fair price for solar and proper multi-partisan support for solar technology with storage and we’re starting to see moves in this direction.

“Mr Foley committing a future Labor Government to these policies means he should be rightly congratulated.

“Solar delivers clear benefits across the community, whether you have solar on your rooftop or not. Getting all sides of politics to recognise our solar future, to understand all the benefits of powering the country from the sun has just got to be done, and surely is a no brainer,” she said.

“There are millions of solar voters across the country, politicians failing to recognise them and their support are simply dudding themselves of electoral support.

This promise to "massively increase" solar generation in NSW if elected in 2019 would be achieved by installing panels on the rooftops of government buildings including schools, hospitals and police stations.

Media Contact: Andrew Bradley P: 0403 777 137 E: