The Coalition is yet to take up a golden opportunity to unlock billions of dollars worth of innovative clean energy projects, advocates say.

It comes after the Prime Minister pledged $5 million towards grants to help community organisations install solar or solar battery systems.

Renewable energy advocates say it’s an inadequate commitment and more must be done to empower Australians to take control of their power supply.

“If the Coalition was serious about supporting community organisations to access solar they would remove the main barriers that community groups face: red tape, access to legal expertise and early-stage funding. $5 million won’t deliver any of those things,” Community Power Agency’s Nicky Ison says.

“Modelling shows that spending $140 million will unlock up to $1.5 billion worth of community-owned clean power projects that will deliver financial returns back to the community.

“When it comes to innovation and investment, this government still has a way to go to turn talk into action. In contrast, the Labor Party has committed almost $100 million to kickstart community-owned projects and provide support to the groups developing them.”

There are 70 community groups around the country currently trying to build and run their own clean energy projects, including solar and wind farms.

“Community Power Agency will continue to work with community energy groups – 47 of which are in Coalition-held electorates – to secure the support community energy groups need this election,” Ms Ison said.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said community energy projects were essential to making the transition to clean, cheap renewable power a reality.

“If the government was serious about supporting communities, it would provide funding that is necessary to get communities connected to clean power that will save on power bills.

“We would expect far more than $5 million to be pledged to community energy initiatives ahead of the July 2 poll.”

Australian Solar Council chief executive John Grimes says the quantum of funding announced by the Prime Minister shows that his heart is really not in it.

“After stripping $1.3 billion worth of funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Mr Turnbull has announced $5 million in community solar PV funding,” Mr Grimes said.

“Mr Turnbull, where is the other $1.29bn?”

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