Mining the Sun: Australia’s modern day gold rush - Solar Citizens

Mining the Sun: Australia’s modern day gold rush

The State of Solar report is the first of its kind to undertake a detailed evaluation of the benefits of Australia’s solar rooftop boom quantifying out-of-pocket investment, the jobs created, savings made on power bills and environmental benefits.

“The results are simply staggering, $8bn of out-of-pocket investment in rooftop solar pv over the last decade, $4.4bn in bill savings and in terms of environmental benefits, 6 million tonnes of CO2 expected to be averted in 2016 alone,” said Claire O’Rourke, National Director, Solar Citizens.

“With 5 million people living under a solar powered roof, Australia has the highest levels of rooftop solar in the world. This transformation has happened in just 6 years.

“The growth is astonishing and it is fascinating that we can see, for the first time, what average Australians themselves have invested to ride this boom,” she said.

From 2006 to 2010, the number of solar systems installed each year in Australia trebled year-on-year.

“Australians are leading the renewables charge and this new set of data plainly reveals that investment in solar pv has been the backbone of the renewables revolution in Australia,” she said.

“Australian political leaders need to understand just how much the average Australian themselves have committed of their own money to play a part in the transition of our power system. With 5 million Australians (or 1 in 5 voters) living under a solar roof, this is potent political constituency,” said O’Rourke.

“The global transition to renewables is already underway. Australia needs a national plan to harness the multi-billion dollar renewables boom and manage the orderly transition to 100% clean renewable power.

“Powering our lives and our homes with 100% renewable electricity by 2030 is technically possible and absolutely necessary as we outlined in our Homegrown Power Plan modelling.

Figures released by Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance last week indicate a staggering forecast of future investment in renewables globally. Through to 2040, BNEF forecast a record $7.8 trillion to be invested in renewables, including $3.4 trillion for solar, $3.1 trillion for wind, and $911 billion for hydro power.

Many of our State and Territory Governments understand this renewables revolution with four jurisdictions undertaking their own renewable energy targets (QLD, SA, VIC, ACT). But the Turnbull-Abbott Government has the regrettable track-record of cutting the national renewable energy target and still has not released a renewable energy policy.

Topline figures from report:

Out of Pocket investment in solar – The State of Solar Report is the first to quantify these figures:
Australians have invested “out-of-pocket” over $8bn in the last 10 years in rooftop solar pv.
In the 2014-15 financial year, Australians invested $1.23 billion dollars in rooftop solar from their own pocket. By comparison, investment in all large scale solar energy projects in calendar year 2014 was only around $118 million.
Every year for the last five years, Australians have spent more than $1 billion of their own money on small-scale solar PV systems (under 10kW).

Bill Savings – The State of Solar Report is the first to quantify these figures:
Solar households have saved $4.4 billion on their power bills since financial year 2007/2008 and around $1bn every year for the past three years.
Averaging this across all solar households, it can be said that in FY 2014/2015, the typical solar household saved $653 on their electricity bill.

Environmental Benefits - In 2016 alone, Australia’s rooftop solar generators will generate over 6.5 TWh, preventing around 6,301,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas from polluting our environment. That’s the equivalent of taking one-third of all trucks off Australian roads.[2]
A survey of Solar Citizens supporters undertaken in January 2016 with more than 4,300 respondents revealed that the primary driver for purchasing solar was financial reasons (60%), over environmental reasons (38%). But tellingly, there are greater satisfaction levels relating to the environmental impact of their solar arrays for these same respondents (95%) over the financial return (88%) and an overwhelming majority expected their solar investment to pay off.
The report is available here or upon request.

Media Contact: Andrew Bradley P: 0403 777 137

The full report is available here: