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:
- Quotes from other community groups / states below.
- Embeddable explainer video about solar gardens here.
- Images and footage of the launch will be uploaded into this Dropbox folder on Tuesday 8 Oct 2019
- Campaign webpage can be found at www.solarforall.org.au.
- The community groups that are part of the campaign coalition include:
- Australian Energy Foundation
- Australian Youth Climate Coalition
- Better Renting
- Coalition for Community Energy
- Community Power Agency
- Community Owned Renewable Energy Mullumbimbi (COREM)
- Environment Victoria
- Hepburn Wind
- Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney
- Nature Conservation Council
- 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