Solar Citizens

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Title

Solar Citizens

Website Frontpage

Description

Solar Citizens is an independent, community-based organisation bringing together millions of solar owners and supporters to grow and protect solar in Australia.

Together, we take action to protect the rights of millions of Australians with solar to cut bills, create clean power and take energy generation back into our own hands.

Australia is one of the sunniest continents on earth, so producing power from the sun just makes sense.

More than 2 million rooftop power stations are now lighting up homes and businesses around the country. And many more households are looking to solar as a way to manage their energy bills, creating cleaner energy along the way.

The solar rooftop revolution is happening at an astounding pace – the price of solar is plummeting, making solar more affordable than ever, and rates of uptake continue to rise rapidly.

But despite the many reasons to go solar, there are obstacles in our way. Some big energy companies don’t want to see Australians take back control of their own energy needs. They want to make connecting to solar harder, not easier.

Primary environmental focus

Renewable Energy

Geographic sphere or activity

National

Primary location

Australia

Known address

338 Pitt St, Sydney, NSW 2000

Website link/s

Founding Year

2013

History of group

Unknown

Successes

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.

***UPDATE: After nearly 10,000 solar supporter took action to stand up for the SRES, the Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor committed to keeping the scheme. The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) helps more households take back control of their energy bills by making rooftop solar more affordable. Over 9,300 people signed our open letter to the Minister, and more than 2,000 sent an email to their Federal MP about saving the SRES. This is another people-powered victory!***

The small-scale solar scheme is on the chopping block, so we've written an open letter to the new Energy Minister Angus Taylor asking him to support solar and lower power bills by pledging to save the scheme.

Fill in the form below to add your name to the open letter before we deliver it in Canberra.
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.
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've collected nearly 2,500 submissions and made the AEMC back down - for the second time!
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 ARENAs 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.
We stopped the discriminatory solar penalty.

Media Release: Win for SA solar: Court rejects 'solar tax', 2015

The Federal Court has today ruled in favour of South Australia’s solar households, supporting the Australian Energy Regulator’s decision to stop SA Power Networks gouging solar rooftop owners.

Justice Mansfield dismissed the appeal from SAPN against the AER’s earlier decision to disallow the introduction of a new, higher tariff on solar owners. Solar Citizens supported the Total Environment Centre’s intervention in the case.

Solar Citizens Consumer Campaigner Reece Turner said South Australians clearly love solar and expect that they won’t be subjected to unfair charges.

“This court decision today protects solar homeowners from South Australian Power Networks trying to push unfair fees onto the solar community by any means possible,” Turner said.

“It’s a sensible outcome to stop SA Power Networks from charging solar households an average of $100 per year. South Australia is home to more than 190,000 solar homes with more families going solar every day.”

“These are households who have decided to beat the rising costs of electricity by taking power generation into their own hands. Solar households are most common in lower income suburbs. The main reason these families go solar is to help with the rising cost of power bills.”

"In the process these solar powered homes reduce the need for expensive new poles and wires, stimulate jobs in the renewable energy industry and create clean, cheap energy that helps all Australians.”
Mark Byrne, energy market advocate at the Total Environment Centre, explained that “This Federal Court decision places all electricity networks across Australia on notice that they cannot unfairly charge solar households more to cover the cost of their poor planning for a changing electricity network.” https://www.solarcitizens.org.au
/major_win_for_south_australian_solar_households_court_rejects_solar_tax
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.
Labor ambition set with 50% renewables by 2030

Media Release 2015:

Solar Citizens applauds Labor’s announcement this morning that the party plans to introduce a 50% renewable energy goal of 50% by 2030 as a cornerstone of the party’s Platform to be endorsed at this week’s ALP National Conference.

Solar Citizens National Director, Claire O’Rourke, said Labor’s commitment to a strong renewables goal will be welcomed by the overwhelming majority of Australians who want to see more solar and renewables, not less.

“Labor leader Bill Shorten today begins a new chapter for renewable energy in Australia - this new, ambitious and achievable goal and will address the relentless and wilful damage that the Abbott Government has inflicted on the solar and renewable energy industry since it was elected in 2013,” said Ms O’Rourke.

“This announcement demonstrates that the ALP has a strong commitment to the creation of thousands of jobs and to help families reap the rewards of solar to take control of rising power bills.”

“In setting this new ambitious standard for renewable energy, the ALP has backed a vote winner with recent Essential Polling showing that 55% of people saying they would be more likely to vote for a party that increased Government support for renewable energy.”

“In recent weeks Solar Citizens members have met with ALP MPs from across the country, asking them to take the ‘Stand up for Solar’ pledge. This support is now recognised by the leadership of the party, which is an important development that sets a positive tone to the national debate.

“The way we use energy is changing, with families and businesses reaping the benefits of lower power bills and energy independence. We welcome Labor’s recognition in its National Platform that Australians want to see a strong renewable energy sector that can attract investment and create thousands of new jobs.”

“Australians want political leadership that will deliver cleaner, cheaper energy from solar - the last thing they want to see is ongoing attacks such as those we have seen from the Federal Government.”

“For far too long there has been a disconnect between what Australians want and what our political leaders have delivered. Labor’s announcement takes Australia one step closer to becoming a solar powerhouse.”

“We urge the Abbott Government to follow Labor’s shining example and agree to a 50% renewable energy goal by 2030, to show Australians that they will deliver sensible policies that are in the national interest.” said Ms O’Rourke.

https://www.solarcitizens.org.au/labor_ambition_set_with_50_renewables_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 Queensland 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!

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