With over 2.5 million solar panel arrays in Australia and another 2,500 households installing solar every month, Australia’s first solar consumer rights group has officially launched this week.
Solar Citizens, an offshoot of the advocacy group 100% Renewable, will work towards protecting the interests of solar owners and future solar owners against state and federal governments and power companies. Solar citizens outline what they will work to ensure on their website:
- Every Australian is able to take up the benefits of solar in their home or in their community
- Solar homeowners are paid a fair price for the power they contribute to the grid
- Solar homeowners are able to connect to the grid
- Solar homeowners are not subject to unreasonable charges or tariffs
According to Solar Citizens, Australian’s have invested $8 billion in small scale solar systems. In Perth for example, electricity retailer Synergy estimated that 10% of its customers were now using solar systems. But for many of these household the investment is under threat by harmful policies of state governments. The first two campaigns will focus on Tasmania and Queensland; in Tasmania it is in relation to privatisation of Aurora and threats to solar feed-in-tariffs, and in Queensland the campaign concerns the Queensland Competition Authority’s move to put solar users on a different electricity billing system which would cost solar households more money.
In previous years states have cut feed in tariffs for electricity schemes , Geoff Evans, manager of Solar Citizens commented “People are feeling vulnerable, having invested thousands of dollars in solar panels … We think there is a push-back going on.”