New campaign demands ‘Solar for All’ Australians

PRESS RELEASE – Tuesday, 8 October 2019.

A coalition of 20 community groups has launched a ‘Solar for All’ campaign calling on state governments to end solar lock-out and give all Australians access to safe and affordable energy.

More than one third of Australians are locked out of access to clean energy because they rent, live in apartments, have unsuitable rooftops, or cannot afford the upfront cost of solar panels.

The coalition, led by the Community Power Agency, is calling for policy and funding support for solutions to solar lockout, including solar gardens. These are centralised solar arrays that people can purchase a small share in; the electricity generated by these arrays is credited on consumers’ bills.

“Solar energy reduces people’s electricity bills and cuts climate pollution. Everyone deserves to access these benefits, regardless of their living arrangements or income levels,” said Nicky Ison, founder and co-director, Community Power Agency.

“Governments can easily fix this unfair situation in Australia by funding solar garden trials and solar rebates for low-income and locked-out households.

“These simple solutions can help state governments deliver lower costs of living, better physical and mental health, and meaningful action on climate change. There are no downsides to this,” said Ison.

Solar gardens are a proven concept. In the United States, 1.3GWs of solar gardens are operating across 40 states are saving communities hundreds of dollars per year, while reducing emissions.

Liuanga Palu, Marrickville renter and co-lead of Sydney Alliance’s Voices for Power campaign, said: “I keep my heater and air conditioning use to a minimum because electricity is just too expensive—you can imagine how miserable that is on a freezing winter day or a scorching summer one.”

“It’s frustrating to know that solar could cut my household bills by hundreds of dollars a year, but that I can’t tap into these benefits because I can’t afford the upfront costs or to buy a home yet.

“Climate change is making our summers hotter every year. I want my elected leaders to quickly support solar gardens and rebates, because we all deserve healthy and safe lives,” said Palu.

For interviews, contact Vaidehi Shah – 0452 290 082

About the Community Power Agency

Community Power Agency was founded in 2011 to drive a faster and fairer transition to clean energy. At the Community Power Agency, we believe that local, people-powered clean energy projects will bring lasting benefits to communities across Australia. We care about achieving a transition to clean energy that benefits everyone, regardless of where you live, or what you earn.

About Sydney Alliance

The Sydney Alliance is a diverse coalition of community organisations, religious organisations, unions and schools that uses the tools of community organising to make the city a better place to live. The idea of building a Sydney Alliance was first raised in May 2007, and by November that same year was financially supported by 13 organisations. The Alliance launched with 45 partner organisations on 15 September 2011.

Notes to editors:

  1. Quotes from other community groups / states below.
  2. Embeddable explainer video about solar gardens here.
  3. Images and footage of the launch will be uploaded into this Dropbox folder on Tuesday 8 Oct 2019
  4. Campaign webpage can be found at
  5. The community groups that are part of the campaign coalition include:
  • 2040
  • Australian Energy Foundation
  • Australian Youth Climate Coalition
  • Better Renting
  • Coalition for Community Energy
  • Community Power Agency
  • Community Owned Renewable Energy Mullumbimbi (COREM)
  • Enova
  • Environment Victoria
  • Hepburn Wind
  • Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney
  • Nature Conservation Council
  • Pingala
  • Renew
  • Repower Shoalhaven
  • Solar Citizens
  • Tenants Union of NSW
  • United Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
  • Uniting Communities
  • Voices for Power campaign of the Sydney Alliance
  • Zero Emissions Byron

Webinar recordings – Designing for strong community participation

The first of four free webinars kicked off last week on Thursday, thanks to support from Sustainability Victoria and the Community Power Hubs. The first webinar was an introduction to designing community owned energy projects with strong community participation and the recording is available online.

The Coalition for Community Energy will be hosting recordings of the webinars on their website and YouTube channel.

The second webinar will take place this week on Thursday and will dive into the detail of how the economic arrangements can facilitate engagement of the sort you’re looking for in your project.

WEBINAR 2: Facilitating participation through economic arrangements.
Thursday 26 September 2019, 6:00–7:30 PM

WEBINAR 3: Facilitating participation through governance structures.
Thursday 3 October 2019, 6:00–7:30 PM

WEBINAR 4: Facilitating participation through community engagement practices.
Thursday 10 October 2019, 6:00–7:30 PM

Register here for upcoming webinars.

Newsletter – September 2019

Dear Community Energy Enthusiasts,

Green shoots, new growth, a bit of heat and fresh products – that’s what Spring is all about.

  • Green shoots are emerging in Queensland, with a community energy forum being held in Yeppoon on 28 September.
  • We have new growth as Enova expands in to Sydney – meaning they now service the whole of NSW.
  • A bit of heat is in the air with Friends of the Earth partnering with the Coalition for Community Energy (C4CE) to ask the Victorian Andrews Government for more support for community energy.
  • And fresh products comes in the form of our very own Jarra Hicks presenting a FREE four part series of webinars for Sustainability Victoria.

Read on for more

from all of us at the (growing) Community Power Agency team!

Jarra, Nicky, Fran, Tom, Ella and Kristy!!

Friends of the Earth and C4CE call for a strong community energy sector in Victoria

Did you know that across the country, there are 105 community energy groups and 50 of these are based in Victoria? That’s why the Coalition 4 Community Energy (C4CE) and Friends of the Earth Melbourne have teamed up to ensure this sector can thrive.

While the federal Coalition buries its head in the sand on climate change, communities are leading on renewable energy at the local level. Since 2015, Victoria’s Andrews Government has shown leadership by encouraging community energy projects through a number of initiatives. But in the absence of a federal energy policy there are many community energy projects in development that do not have the financial or logistical support needed to reach maturity. If Victoria is going to be the leader in community energy, it’s vital the state government provides community energy groups the support they need to succeed.

Join the call by signing up to the petition asking the Andrews Labor government to deliver a plan that will secure Victoria’s place as a community energy leader here!

Are your community energy programs designed to maximise community participation?

Sustainability Victoria invites you to a series of FREE webinars in September and October on how to ensure quality participation in your community-owned energy projects, now and in the future.

Presented by Dr Jarra Hicks from the Community Power Agency, you’ll hear about best practice approaches to community participation based on the latest insights from Sustainability Victoria’s Community Power Hubs pilot program.

This four-webinar series is ideal for community energy groups wanting to ensure future projects are designed and structured to facilitate community participation, or those wanting to create better opportunities for community participation in existing projects.  

Find out more and register for free if you’d like to join us.  More details on each of the webinar sessions can be found in the attached invitation. 

Please forward to your networks and for any enquiries, please contact

Community Energy Forum in Yeppoon – September 28th

Community Power Agency are partnering with our friends, Energetic Communities and 350 Central Queensland and Capricorn Coast Landcare to hold an introductory workshop on Community Owned Renewable Energy in Yeppoon later this month. The forum will be an opportunity for people of the Capricorn Coast to discuss what actions they can take locally right now to take control of their power supply and energy bills. CPA and Energetic Communities will cover:

  • Types of community energy projects
  • Funding models – Investment, Donation, Renters, Solar Gardens
  • Legal structures
  • Benefits of community energy
  • Community Engagement
  • Existing support networks
  • Case studies of successful projects
  • Potential sites in and around Yeppoon

Numbers are limited so please sign up here now!

Enova expanding to Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong!

Australia’s first community-owned electricity company, Enova Community Energy is about to take its community powered energy model to Sydney, Newcastle & Wollongong.

This means as of 1st October, Enova will be servicing the whole of NSW.

For people based in Sydney, Newcastle & Wollongong, Enova’s waitlist is now open. To celebrate, everyone who goes onto the waitlist to switch to Enova between now and 1 October will go into a draw to win $1,500 worth of ethical electricity from Enova, or a 3-day double pass to the Byron Bay Blues Festival 2020, or other great prizes.

If you’re already an Enova customer, please help them share the good news – and if your friends or family signs up, get them to quote your full name or Enova account number and you’ll receive $25 for each sign up off your next bill

This is a huge milestone for the way energy is done in this country, for Enova and is a great opportunity to support community-powered energy!