Solar Citizens is a people powered movement standing up for the rights of solar owners and campaigning for sensible clean energy policies. The organisation was started on the understanding that if the millions of solar owners and supporters in Australia stand together, we can be powerful. Here's how we're winning...
WON! Keep ARENA and the CEFC clean
The Coalition Government tried to push through dodgy changes to open the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) up to invest in polluting gas, dirty hydrogen, and unproven carbon capture and storage (CCS). However thanks to thousands of solar citizens who rallied, signed petitions, called and emailed decision-makers, donated and more, Angus Taylor’s dangerous plan to use ARENA to fund fossil fuels was blocked by the Senate and our community defeated Taylor's attack on the CEFC when thousands of solar citizens wrote to and called Senators Griff, Lambie and Patrick, forcing Taylor to abandon his plan.
More details here
WON! Supercharge ARENA
Australia's leading clean energy innovation body, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), was on the brink of running out of funding in 2020 after hundreds of millions of dollars of past budget cuts. But nearly 10,000 solar citizens signed our open letter, called their MP, emailed the Federal Energy Minister, and spoke up on social media in support of ARENA. Now we have won half the fight, with the Federal Government pledging $1.4 billion for ARENA in the 2020 Federal Budget.
More than 10,000 signed our open letter – add your name!
WON! Save Queensland's Clean Energy Jobs
Investment in large-scale renewable energy projects in Queensland crashed to almost nothing in 2019. The State Government was not on track to reach their 50% renewable energy target by 2030, and federal energy policy uncertainty was driving investors further away. Thousands of jobs and billions worth of investment was at risk across the regions, so solar citizens across the state leapt into action.
In the year leading up to the Queensland state election on October 2020, over 6,000 Queenslanders took action to encourage all sides of state politics to implement more ambitious renewable energy policies. Solar Citizens was in the media 230 times, talking about the job and economic benefits of clean energy projects being built and manufactured in the Sunshine State. We ran bus ads, billboards and reached over 800,000 people with digital advertising.
Some of the key outcomes that we won from the Queensland Government include: $145 million for three Renewable Energy Zones, a $500 million Renewable Energy Fund, and Queensland's state-owned utilities have done deals to help another five solar and wind projects come online. The Sunshine State is now back on track to reach 50% renewables by 2030 – the next step is turning it into a renewable powerhouse!
View the campaign website here
WON! Stopped the Emissions Reduction Fund from Propping up Coal
Following pressure from coal heavyweights, the rule makers in charge of the federal government's Emission Reduction Fund (ERF) were reviewing whether the public funds could be used to pay for coal station upgrades – keeping ageing and polluting generators on life support.
But after community outcry, including from 600+ solar citizens who wrote submissions for the review process, we were able to stop the polluting Vales Point coal plant from getting funding through this process.
WON! Save the SRES
The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) was on the chopping block. Following a recommendation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Comission (ACCC) to wind up and then abolish the SRES nine years early, the Federal Government was radio silent on the future of the scheme. Close to 10,000 solar citizens around the country sprung into action: over 9,300 people added their name to our open letter to Energy Minister Angus Taylor, and over 2,000 sent an email to their Federal MP. On the day we were travelling to Canberra to deliver our open letter to the Minister's office, Angus Taylor came out in the media committing to keep the SRES.
WON! Victoria Mandated a Minimum Feed-in Tariff
In Victoria our Fair Price for Solar campaign helped secure a legislated minimum feed-in tariff that recognises, for the first time in Australia, the environmental contribution of rooftop solar. Meanwhile, in NSW the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) doubled the recommended tariff benchmark after our supporters lodged 1,400 submissions. While we’re making headway, there is still more work to do to lock in a fair price for all solar owners.
We've collected more than 10,000 signatures for a national Fair Price for Solar – add your name!
WON! Stop the Solar Swindle
The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), they make the rules that govern the electricity market, were proposing to charge solar owners for feeding their electricity back to the grid. That’s right, they wanted to charge solar owners for sharing their clean power. Across the country, Solar Citizens acted and the AEMC dropped the proposal.
We collected nearly 2,500 submissions and made the AEMC back down – for the second time!
WON! Make Solar Thermal Happen in Port Augusta
The Port Augusta community campaigned for more than five years for the Federal and South Australian Governments to back plans for a local solar thermal plant. People power prevailed in the end with the SA State Premier Jay Weatherill announcing that construction of the $650 million plant will begin in 2018.
WON! Save ARENA
The Federal Government wanted to cut $1 billion from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) but Solar Citizens across the country rallied to protect ARENA and demonstrate the strong community desire to stand up for essential grants funding that supports cutting-edge research and helps get commercial projects off the ground. Together, we saved $800 million of ARENA's funding and pulled it back from the brink.
We saved $800 million of ARENA's funding
WON! Protect the Renewable Energy Target
More than 28,000 Australians signed this petition and in August 2014 we delivered it in Canberra to Coalition MPs Sarah Henderson and Warren Entsch.
The Abbott Government wanted the Target axed entirely, but by joining together and running a strong campaign, Solar Citizens across the country saved the Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme and defended the bulk of the Renewable Energy Target.
We saved the small-scale component of the Renewable Energy Target
WON! SA Power Networks: drop the solar penalty
Almost 3000 Solar Citizens signed the petition and Adelaide volunteers letterboxed thousands of solar homes to stop SA Power Networks introducing a discriminatory penalty on all solar owners in South Australia. Their application to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) was rejected, but SAPN didn't accept this and appealed the regulator's decision in the Federal Court (read more here). However the Court ruled in favour of South Australian solar households. Solar Citizens supported the Total Environment Centre’s intervention in the case. Read more here.
We stopped the discriminatory solar penalty
WON! ALP commits to 50% renewables by 2030
As part of the Stand Up for Solar campaign, Solar Citizens met with ALP MPs from across the country, asking them to take the ‘Stand up for Solar’ pledge, asking for a national goal of at least 50% solar and renewable electricity generation by 2030. At the ALP National Conference, Labor announced a 50% renewable energy goal of 50% by 2030.
WON! Keep Queensland the Sunshine State
Queensland has long been known as Australia's sunshine state, but recent recommendations to the government could see QLD's 300,000 solar homes slugged with new charges of $200 a year that would penalise them for going solar. These measures would undermine the multi-billion dollar investment ordinary Queenslanders have made in solar systems.
We stopped QLD solar penalties
WON! South Australian Solar at Risk
The South Australian government is considering cutting the payment made to solar owners for the energy they provide to the grid. This would force solar to deal directly with big power companies, who have no interest in providing a fair price for solar. Submissions are now open for a review of the feed-in tariff program, and now is our time to have our voices heard on why the South Australian government can’t let the big retailers control solar payments in SA.
We provided over 1,700 submissions to ensure a fair price in SA
WON! Queensland Government commits to 1 million solar rooftops
As part of the 2015 Queensland Election, Solar Citizens asked the major parties where they stood on solar, including asking them to set a target for achieving one million Queensland rooftops. The Palaszczuk Queensland Government promised one million more solar rooftops in Queensland and to have the productivity commission investigate a fair feed-in tariff. Queensland Labor also made further commitments directly to Solar Citizens' policy platform.
We won a commitment to 1 million solar rooftops
WON! Barnett's Massive Solar Betrayal
The WA Government has revealed that it intends to slash the feed-in tariff rate which will impact 75,000 WA households that installed solar from mid 2010-2011. This is an arbitrary and deeply unfair decision, targeting ordinary families - a blatant grab for cash by the WA government. The Barnett Government is betraying solar owners and turning its back on people who are taking the right steps for our energy future.
In just 96 hours, we reversed the Barnett Government's decision
WON! Don't Tax the Sun
The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) recommended increasing penalties and tariffs to solar owners – in effect, taxing the sun. The AEMC was bowing to big power companies and claiming that solar homes are being subsidised by other energy consumers. Solar is not what is driving up electricity costs. Investment in poles, wires and dying technologies are, and solar owners shouldn't be unfairly penalised.
Over 28,000 Solar Citizens signed the petition to stop the sun tax and the AEMC backed down!