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April 23, 2021

New campaign demands ‘Solar for All’ Australians

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

As a remedy for the lock-out, a coalition of 20 community groups has launched a ‘Solar For All’ campaign calling on state governments to give all Australians access to safe and affordable energy.

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 panels that people can purchase a small share in; the electricity generated by these arrays is credited on consumers’ bills.

Founder and co-director Community Power Agency Nicky Ison, says that 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,’ she said.

‘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 and saving members of these communities hundreds of dollars per year, while importantly reducing emissions.

Locally based electricity provider Enova Energy is already on board with solar gardens. Enova CEO Felicity Stening that Enova are already actively pioneering solar gardens because they believe in solar for all. ‘We aim to support communities throughout the country to establish solar gardens in the coming years,’ said Ms Stening.

‘The benefits of solar gardens are broad, but most importantly, they help make the rewards of renewable energy accessible. We believe people who are priced out of owning a home, or in units who don’t have a roof top, should not be excluded. We know that solar could cut household bills by hundreds of dollars a year, yet so many people can’t access savings due to lack of access,’ she said. ‘Enova supports the Solar For All campaign that’s asking elected leaders to quickly support solar gardens and rebates because we all deserve access to clean electricity’.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. What a great initiative !
    If government was to actually do anything positive in the pursuit of meeting their obligation , to limit carbon polution,as one of the Word’s largest carbon producing nations. What better place to start ?
    Free stand- alone solar to all, Why not ?
    Not only would this reduce the dependance on coalfired monstrosities but also pull the rug out from under the distributers and place carbon free energy in the hands of those use it.
    Although ENOVA might be local and have aspirations of providing clean energy, much in the same way the Government policy will all be hunky- dory in the near future, in the meantime they are just repackaging, at a profit, the same old coal fired energy and pollution that the rest of the world must contend with.

    G”)

    • We’re quite different to other energy retailers.

      Enova Community Energy is owned by local community level shareholders – over 1,600 shareholders. Over 70% in the Northern Rivers, the rest in every state and territory in Australia because they want to see our very different model for doing energy succeed. They have all invested to support the concept – knowing that we’re working to make it possible for communities to be self-sustaining and for everyone in the community to shift to renewables over time.

      As a social enterprise, we are profit for purpose, with 50% of our profits going into our not-for-profit arm, for local community renewable energy projects. Our vision is to build sustainable and resilient communities where renewable energy is generated, stored and shared locally. We’re already 50% renewable by purchasing energy from our customer’s rooftop solar, and we’ve recently offset our remaining grid purchases with accredited carbon offsets. We plan to be 100% renewable energy by 2020.

      Our focus on doing energy differently involves a completely different approach and we’re making the strategic decisions to make it happen: new locally owned and generated renewable energy for local places. A system that’s taken hundreds of years and immeasurably powerful multi-national corporations to create will not be deconstructed quickly or easily. Enova is creating something new from the ground up with broad community support.

  2. Another awesome idea.

    Wait…if everyone has solar…there will be nobody without solar to pay the subsidy to pay for the solar..

    You know..the only way that the solar cuts the bills by hundreds is because the bills of people without solar have gone up by hundreds to pay for it.

    Bloody subsidies. Ruined a perfectly good plan to give everyone free stuff.

    • Solar subsidies are a very small component of massive electricity bill rises. The single biggest contributors are probably gold-plating of the network and price gouging.

      • The ACCC did an investigation and found that ‘gold plating’ of the electricity network is the big driver (40%) of increased power prices. ‘Green Schemes’ were the smallest contributor (7%) to rising power prices.

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