Eyes are on the Energy and Climate Change Ministerial Council (ECCMC) meeting this Friday in Perth, where consumer advocacy group Solar Citizens hopes to see the start of much-needed consumer solar energy policy and regulation reform.
“If we are to maximise solar value and continue to lower household power bills, we need Australia’s governments to act on smarter technical policy and regulation” said Solar Citizens National Director Heidi Lee Douglas.
“The energy market rules were written in the interests of large industrial players, which made sense when electricity was primarily produced by large coal plants. But we are partway through a transition that will see cheaper and cleaner renewables take over energy production, with rooftop solar as the largest combined source of renewable energy.
“Millions of Australian households and businesses have invested $25 billion in renewable energy over the past decade. They have collectively installed enough rooftop solar to power more than 3 million homes. The energy regulators urgently need to rewrite the rules to benefit households and businesses, and not just big industry”.
Rooftop solar panels, batteries, electric vehicles/chargers, and home energy management technologies – often referred to as distributed or consumer energy resources – play a huge role in Australia’s electricity networks by generating and storing household energy behind the meter
“Energy regulations need to be rewritten to support not only Australian consumers’ past investment, but also the estimated future investment of $250 billion in household energy and electrification – which includes solar, electric vehicles, and smart appliances,” said Douglas.
Solar Citizens wrote to Federal Energy and Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen in the lead-up to this week’s meeting, asking him for national reforms to support consumer energy resources. They made specific requests asking for proper technical standards, effective coordination, and governance to support consumer solar, batteries, and electric vehicles. These changes include how distribution networks are remunerated, and greater transparency of network performance data. Their letter was accompanied by 800 letters from citizens who mirrored their call.
“These measures will directly lower power bills for all families and small businesses. Without these corrective measures, we will not stay on pace to achieve the Government’s 82% renewable energy by 2030 goal”, said Roger Wilkins, Clean Energy Policy Director for Solar Citizens.
“As a previous Solar Sales Entrepreneur, I helped many families and businesses invest in solar to cut down on electricity bills. However, the energy market doesn’t have the rules or systems which prioritise the best use of this clean energy consumer investment, or even reward households or businesses for using their appliances at the sunniest time of day. Great investment and great sacrifices have been made by citizens in the uptake of solar and batteries. Now we need a policy and regulatory environment that compliments this investment accordingly,” said Wilkins.
“We have 25 billion current and 250 billion future reasons to support energy policy and regulatory reform for consumer energy resources like rooftop solar, but we only need one - and that is to do everything you can to keep lowering the cost of living through the cheapest form of electricity on earth – the generation of rooftop solar.”
Solar Citizens is an advocacy group focused on the cost of living benefits consumers can harness from renewable energy and clean transport.
Heidi Lee Douglas 0401 092 570