Solar Citizens: Gaining Ground One Solar Power-ful Step At A Time

Generators of fossil fuel have reason to be agitated: solar energy apparently works. At the 2013 Solar Conference in Melbourne, Muriel Watt of Australia’s Photovoltaic (PV) Association issued a warning to home solar power users that the traditional energy industry will continue to fight against solar energy use by maximising derogatory public relations and advertising campaigns as well as keeping tariff rates steep and regulatory policies difficult to comply with.

The attempt to halt solar energy usage has necessitated anti-solar power advocates to build an arsenal of potential deterrents:

  • Gross metering.
  • Lower buy back prices.
  • Increase in fixed charges.
  • Numerous restrictions imposed on new connections.
  • Restrictions imposed on operations.
  • Discriminatory offerings.
  • Mobilisation of lobby groups and lobbyists of anti-renewable sources.
  • Insufficient or lack of regulatory and political support.
  • Applying tactics of schism such as segregating those who “have” and those who “have not.”

Solar Citizens: Putting Anti-Solar Energy Proponents in Hiatus

The launch of Solar Citizens, however, seems to put anti-solar energy proponents in hiatus. According to some members of Solar Citizens, more than $8 billion has been invested by Australians in small-scale installations of solar energy systems including solar panels. The primary aim of Solar Citizens is to protect homeowners who use solar energy systems from obscene tariffs and questionable charges.

Solar Citizens want accessibility to the main grid while receiving fair prices for power uploaded to this grid to obtain the benefits of solar energy in their homes. About $913 million may be generated by these small-scale systems this year, according to Solar Citizens, a fact that will increase the financial pressure already felt by large providers of conventional electricity.

Defending the Rights of the Solar Power User

According to Solar Citizens manager Geoff Evans, residential solar energy is bought by large companies and sells it to consumers at thrice the price. The Queensland Competition Authority or QCA has already made a suggestion to place users of solar energy systems on different billing schemes, a condition that has the potential to increase the rates for households already using solar energy systems.

From March to July this year, Solar Citizens are asking people to sign a petition through their page on the change.org website to support the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and take this message directly to Canberra. In June, Solar Citizens will hold public forums in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney to defend the rights of the home solar power user.

Sign the Solar Citizens petition to support the Australian Renewable Energy Target

The Author

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.

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