Category: Media Releases

MEDIA RELEASE – Axing Renewable Energy Target would destroy small businesses

Axing or slashing the Renewable Energy Target would have a devastating impact on small and medium sized businesses throughout Australia, according to new research commissioned by the REC Agents Association.

“Australia’s solar industry is an SME industry,” said Ric Brazzale, President of the REC Agents Association (RAA), a national industry body representing companies that trade in renewable energy certificates.

“Some 96 per cent of Australia’s 3,800 solar PV businesses are micro, small and medium sized enterprises. If the RET is axed, demand for solar will fall by 40-50%, with the potential closure of thousands of small businesses across Australia.”

“The RET has been an extraordinary success, unleashing solar small businesses to help Australian families reduce their power bills by installing solar.”

“Thousands of small businesses have made investment decisions on the basis of election promises and bipartisan support. The solar small business industry has taken the Prime Minister at his word that he won’t axe or slash the RET.”

“Small businesses are the cornerstone of the Australian economy. They employ locals, pay taxes and return profits to local communities,” said Fiona O’Hehir, Vice-President of RAA. “Solar businesses are small businesses.”

The analysis undertaken by Solar Business Services for RAA found that:

  • 52% of solar firms are microbusinesses, with less than 4 employees;
  • More than 90% of the 21,000 Australians who work in the solar industry work for SMEs;
  • Solar SMEs are located across Australia, particularly in the outer suburbs of our big cities and in rural and regional communities;
  • In less than ten years, the solar industry has generated $17 billion of direct retail sales and tens of billions of indirect expenditure.

The Warburton Review of the Renewable Energy Target has recommended axing the Renewable Energy Target. RAA calls on the Government to reject the Warburton report’s dodgy analysis.

RAA will release a detailed analysis of the Warburton Report in coming days.

The Solar Business in Australia report can be found at here.

Contact: Ric Brazzale on 0419 522 659, Fiona O’Hehir on 0409 176 167. Solar small business spokespeople are available on request.

1 September 2014

MEDIA RELEASE – Palmer United Party delivers on Renewable Energy Target

Full media release can be found here

The REC Agents Association (RAA)  – a national industry body for companies trading in renewable energy certificates – has welcomed the Palmer United Party’s support for the Renewable Energy Target.

“Mr Palmer’s announcement is great news for the 15,000 Australians working in the solar industry, as well as the 4,500 small businesses that are the lifeblood of Australia’s solar industry,” said Ric Brazzale, RAA President.

“The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) – a core part of the Renewable Energy Target – has been a huge success, helping Australian families manage their power bills by installing solar.”

RAA Vice-President Fiona O’Hehir said: ”The Renewable Energy Target has created a strong industry, generating tens of billions of dollars of investment and helping five million Australians reduce their power bills at zero cost to the Budget. 
The renewables target must be maintained and left to fully deliver on its potential.”

Economic modelling by ACIL Allen and others shows that over time the Renewable Energy Target cuts the power bills of all Australians.

With Mr Palmer’s announcement, RAA hopes that we will again see billions of dollars of investment in household solar and large-scale renewable energy.

For comment: contact Ric Brazzale on 0419 522 659

MEDIA RELEASE – Renewable Energy Target works, must be maintained

The full RAA RET Review submission can be found at here

The REC Agents Association (RAA) – a national industry body for companies that create and trade in renewable energy certificates – has called for the Renewable Energy Target to be maintained to ensure lower power prices for all Australians.

Responding to the latest review of the Renewable Energy Target (just 17 months after the last Review), RAA has outlined the benefits of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), which has helped Australian families reduce their power bills by installing solar hot water and solar panels.

“The small-scale renewables target is working as expected, meeting annual targets set by Government and delivering policy outcomes set by successive governments, with bipartisan support,” said Ric Brazzale, RAA President.

“There is no reason to change the small-scale renewables target, particularly given the fact there was a significant reduction to the target just seventeen months ago,” said Mr Brazzale.

”The Renewable Energy Target has created a strong industry, generating tens of billions of dollars of investment and helping five million Australians reduce their power bills at zero cost to the Budget. 
The renewables target must be maintained and left to fully deliver on its potential,” said Fiona O’Hehir, RAA Vice-President.

Key conclusions of RAA’s submission to the RET Review include:

  • The solar industry has delivered, with 4,000 businesses (predominantly SMEs employing 12,500 people) investing in response to strong bipartisan support.
  • The SRES is critical for the continued development of the solar industry.
  • The SRES has already taken a haircut and cost is set to fall dramatically.
  • The SRES leads to lower costs for all customers (when wholesale cost reductions are taken into account).
  • Rising gas prices are starting to wreak havoc on Australian families and businesses – the SRES protects us all against rising power prices.
  • Undermining the SRES protects the interests of the big power companies at the expense of all energy customers.
  • The RET Review is undermining the solar industry. Unpredictability and uncertainty are paralyzing thousands of solar businesses across Australia and putting thousands of jobs at risk.

For comment and more information: contact Ric Brazzale on
0419 522 659 or Fiona O’Hehir on 0409 176 167.

The full RAA RET Review submission can be found at here

18 May 2014

RAA Media Release – A Million Broken Promises

MEDIA RELEASE

A Million Broken Promises

The REC Agents Association (RAA) – the national industry association for companies that create and trade in renewable energy certificates – has criticised the Government’s broken election promise to deliver an additional Million Solar Roofs over the next ten years.

“The Million Solar Roofs program was an election commitment by the Coalition to help low income earners install solar panels or solar hot water systems,” said Ric Brazzale, RAA President. “The Government has broken its promise to low income earners and to the solar industry. This means higher power bills and less jobs for solar workers”. 

In a speech to Carbon Expo Australia on 3 December 2013, the Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, said: “The Government will provide $500 million for the One Million Solar Roofs program…The Solar Roofs program will provide $500 rebates for installing one million rooftop solar energy systems over the next ten years…

Priority will be given to low-income households and solar water heaters. In addition, the energy needs of remote indigenous communities will be carefully considered under the program.”

In an interview with Steve Austin of ABC Brisbane on 18 February 2014, just three months ago, Minister Hunt stated:

“we will have coming out of the budget, a package for low income earners in relation to solar power and, in particular, solar hot water. That’s an important part of what we take going forward…

I remember attending the Rheem [solar hot water] factory near Parramatta with Tony Abbott prior to the election and we made a commitment to work with the workers and for the workers and for low income families in this space.”

“Low income earners and solar workers have the right to feel very angry about this broken promise,” said Fiona O’Hehir, RAA Vice-President. “The Government must recommit to the Renewable Energy Target and help low income families reduce their power bills by installing solar.”

The RAA has provided detailed advice to the Government on the possible design and delivery of the Million Solar Roofs program.

For comment and more information: contact Ric Brazzale on
0419 522 659 or Fiona O’Hehir on 0409 176 167.

For more information on RAA, go to www.recagents.org.au

14 May 2014

The full media release can be found here.

MEDIA RELEASE – Solar homes study shows lower income families are building Australia’s solar future

Click here to view to full report

A detailed analysis of solar installations in Australia has shown lower income families and regional communities are most likely to install solar.

The report released today by the REC Agents Association (RAA), a national industry body representing firms that create and trade in renewable energy certificates, analyses the uptake of solar panels and hot water systems by postcode and income.

“Five million Australians have embraced solar because it protects their families from soaring power bills”, said Ric Brazzale, RAA President.

“Families living in lower income suburbs are much more likely to install solar than families living in wealthier suburbs”, said Mr Brazzale. “The further you live away from the CBD of a major city, the more likely you are to install solar.”

“RAA’s study reinforces the importance of the Renewable Energy Target to lower income families and people living in rural areas. Without the RET, lower income households would not be able to reduce their power bills. The RET helps families with the upfront cost of installing solar”, said Fiona O’Hehir, RAA Vice-President.

RAA’s assessment of the top 10 solar suburbs in each State and Territory shows in almost all cases they had a lower income than the state average. RAA’s analysis also shows more than 40% of solar installs are in rural and regional communities, despite these communities making up only 32% of Australia’s housing stock.

Of the top 10 postcodes in each State, 45% were in rural and regional areas; 45% in capital cities; and the remaining 10% in other major urban centres.

The five suburbs in Australia with the largest number of solar systems are:
• Bundaberg area, Queensland;
• Mandurah area, Western Australia;
• Hervey Bay area, Queensland;
• Werribee area, Victoria; and
• Hoppers Crossing area, Victoria.

All five areas have below State average income levels.

The major factors driving solar uptake are likely to include the relative importance of power bills, level of home ownership and level of new home and renovation activity.

The full RAA report, which includes data on the top ten postcodes in each State and Territory, can be found at here

For comment and more information, contact Ric Brazzale on 0419 522 659 and Fiona O’Hehir on 0409 176 167.

29 April 2014

MEDIA RELEASE – The truth about solar revealed

Click here to view the full media release

A new information portal has been launched by the REC Agents Association (RAA), highlighting key facts about solar. RAA is a national industry body for companies that create and trade in renewable energy certificates.

Solar Facts can be found at http://www.recagents.asn.au/solar-facts/

“A number of spurious claims have been made about the solar industry, the Renewable Energy Target and the cost and contribution of solar, and it’s time to correct the record,” said Ric Brazzale, President of RAA.

“The Solar Facts information portal is a valuable source of information for policy makers, journalists, solar industry professionals and anyone passionate about solar wanting access to facts,” said Mr Brazzale. “RAA’s one-stop-shop for solar data will be regularly updated and expanded to bust solar myths and keep interested parties factually updated about solar in Australia.”

“Solar is an important part of mainstream Australian life,” said Fiona O’Hehir, Vice-President of RAA. “More than 2 million solar installations have been supported by the Renewable Energy Target. Almost 25 per cent of the

8.4 million occupied private dwellings in Australia have a solar system.”

Some Key Solar Facts

  • Australians invested more than $1.7 billion in solar PV in 2013.
  • Solar PV installed capacity amounts to nearly 6% of Australia’s generation and 2.2% of total electricity produced.
  • Solar PV produces electricity when it is needed the most and has resulted in a material reduction in peak demand for electricity.
  • More than 17,700 Australians were employed in the solar PV industry in 2013.
  • There is no net cost to customers for the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.
  • The Renewable Energy Target provides downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices and, as a result, wholesale prices are considerably lower than would otherwise be the case.
  • Network costs have driven higher power prices not the Renewable Energy Target.
  • Outer metropolitan mortgage belt and regional areas are the largest adopters of solar.

For comment and more information, contact Ric Brazzale on 0419 522 659 and Fiona O’Hehir on 0409 176 167.  

MEDIA RELEASE – 6,750 solar jobs lost or foregone if Renewable Energy Target is axed

The full report can be found here

Up to 6,750 jobs could be lost or foregone if the Renewable Energy Target is abolished, according to analysis commissioned for the REC Agents Association (RAA), an industry body for companies trading in renewable energy certificates.

“If the Renewable Energy Target is axed, 2,000 jobs could be lost straight away and thousands of new jobs would not be created”, said Fiona O’Hehir, Vice-President of RAA and CEO of Greenbank Environmental, who commissioned the analysis.

“Axing the RET is on the Government’s agenda and they need to understand this would have a diabolical impact on jobs, industry and the hundreds of thousands of Australians who want to put solar on their homes”.

“Last year, the solar industry employed some 17,000 Australians, across 4,300 small and medium sized businesses. Solar workers can be found right across the country, from the outer suburbs of our big cities to rural and regional communities,” said  Ric Brazzale, President of RAA and CEO of Green Energy Trading.

The detailed analysis by industry experts SolarBusinessServices, outlines the future of the solar PV industry, projected to 2018, under three scenarios:

(1)   No policy change: business as usual, floating carbon price, slightly higher exchange rate and lower PV prices;

(2)   Cut to the RET: RET adjusted downwards, cuts to residential solar program (SRES) and carbon price abolished.

(3)   Renewable Energy Target abolished.

“Cutting the Renewable Energy Target would also have severe consequences”, said Ms O’Hehir. “Six hundred jobs could be lost next year with a cut to the RET.”

By 2015, the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) – a key part of the RET that helps Australian families install solar – will cost just $6.50 out of an average $500 a quarter power bill, but the cost is sharply reduced by the parallel reduction in the wholesale cost of electricity delivered by solar.

The real cost of the SRES to households is just $1.90 per quarter, or just 0.38% of a typical household quarterly bill. For almost 5 million Australians, solar is substantially reducing their power bills.

The SolarBusinessServices analysis uses a number of variables to assess their potential impact on the solar market. Changes to the RET have the single largest impact on market uptake, particularly if abolished completely and early.

The full report can be found here

For media comment, contact Fiona O’Hehir on 0409 176 167, Ric Brazzale on
0419 522 659 and Nigel Morris (SolarBusinessServices) on 0410 479 286.

29 January 2014

MEDIA RELEASE – 2 million reasons for celebration: one big cause for concern

The REC Agents Association – a national industry body for companies creating renewable energy certificates – has welcomed the installation of the 2 millionth small scale renewable system under the Renewable Energy Target (RET) but has expressed concerns about the future of the successful scheme.

“The Renewable Energy Target has been extraordinarily successful, helping 5 million Australians put solar on their roofs,” said Ric Brazzale, President of the REC Agents Association.

“Notwithstanding the success of the RET, the solar market is in decline following cuts to government support programs and uncertainty about the Renewable Energy Target” said Mr Brazzale.  “Any move to cut the Renewable Energy Target will lead to further job losses and company closures across the country.”

A recent report by the REC Agents Association showed a 22% drop in the number of solar PV systems installed over the past 12 months, as well as a 20% decline in the solar hot water market.

More than 3,400 jobs could go over the next 12 months from a high of 18,500 employees and many more jobs will go if the Renewable Energy Target is cut following a review this year.

The decline in the solar market has led to a substantial fall in the cost of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), a key part of the Renewable Energy Target that helps Australian families install solar.

By 2015, the SRES will cost just $6.50 out of an average $500 a quarter power bill, but the cost is sharply reduced by the parallel reduction in the wholesale cost of electricity delivered by solar. The real cost of the SRES to households is just $1.90 per quarter, or just 0.4% of a typical household quarterly bill. For 5 million Australians, solar is substantially reducing their power bills.

“The Renewable Energy Target is working and needs to be maintained”, said Mr Brazzale. “It is a low cost means of cutting carbon emissions and creating clean energy jobs for the future.”

More information on the REC Agents Association can be found at www.recagents.org.au

For comment, contact Ric Brazzale on 0419 522 659.

9 January 2014

The official media release can be found here

MEDIA RELEASE – Renewable Energy Target working, but solar needs certainty

The full report can be found here

Two million Australian homes now have solar but demand is falling with the phasing out of government support programs, according to a new reportby the REC Agents Association (RAA) – a national industry body representing companies that create and trade renewable energy certificates.

The report by Green Energy Markets for RAA shows Australia installed over one gigawatt of solar PV in 2012 (the 7th largest market in the world), but has seen a 22% drop in the amount of solar PV installed over the past 12 months. More than 3,400 jobs could go over the next 12 months from a high of 18,500 employees.

The decline in the solar market has also led to a substantial fall in the cost of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), a key part of the Renewable Energy Target that helps Australian families install solar.

By 2015, the SRES will cost just $6.50 out of an average $500 a quarter power bill, but the cost is sharply reduced by the parallel reduction in the wholesale cost of electricity delivered by solar. The real cost of the SRES to households is just $1.90 per quarter, or just 0.38% of a typical household quarterly bill. For almost 5 million Australians, solar is substantially reducing their power bills.

“The Renewable Energy Target has helped almost 5 million Australians install solar, making a material contribution to meeting our energy needs”, said Ric Brazzale, CEO of Green Energy Markets and President of the REC Agents Association.

“The Government’s Million Solar Roofs program, in partnership with the Renewable Energy Target, has the potential to inject new energy into the solar market by helping low income earners and renters install solar”, said Mr Brazzale. “There is simply no need to change the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme through a Review of the Renewable Energy Target.”

“The Renewable Energy Target works”, said Fiona O’Hehir, CEO of Greenbank Environmental and Vice-President of RAA. “It creates jobs, reduces emissions and doesn’t cost the Federal Budget a cent. The Abbott Government should reaffirm its strong support for the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.”

The full report can be found here

For comment, contact Ric Brazzale on 0419 522 659, Fiona O’Hehir on 0409 176 167.

Media Release – Solar energy and energy efficiency major contributors to falling power consumption

Full Media Release REC Agents 20 June 12 – Solar reduces power use

Escalating use of solar energy and energy efficiency are making a material contribution to reducing power consumption and reducing wholesale power prices across the National Electricity Market (NEM) according to a new report released by the REC Agents Association (RAA) today.
Over the last three years electricity consumption in the eastern states NEM has fallen by 3.2% (6,565 GWh). More than half of the reduction has been due to the installation of solar power and solar hot water systems supported by the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Target, and energy efficiency activities supported by the Victorian and NSW energy savings schemes.
Australians have embraced solar with one in five families having either a solar power or solar hot water system.
The report prepared by Green Energy Markets shows that renewable energy and energy efficiency schemes saved 3,455 GWh in 2011 (1.7% of total electricity consumption). The contribution from solar energy and energy efficiency under these schemes is set to treble over the next three years so that by 2015 electricity consumption will be reduced by more than 5% (around 10,664 GWh).
“Market based schemes such as the Renewable Energy Target and the Energy Savings Schemes have been successful in the large-scale deployment of greenhouse reduction technologies and have done so in a way that reduces costs to customers”, said Ric Brazzale, author of the Report and the President of the RAA.
“It is the cost of transporting the electricity through monopoly network businesses that is out of control. The cost of actually producing the electricity is falling. Rising residential power prices have been caused by massive network investment (poles and wires) which has been passed on to consumers through higher charges. Government schemes that support solar and energy efficiency have been successful in keeping a lid on wholesale power prices (which are at their lowest level in real terms for more than 10 years)”, he said.
“The cost impact of these schemes is modest and only contributes marginally to expected increases in electricity prices. These schemes do however deliver lower wholesale prices which benefit all consumers.”
“The challenge faced by policy makers is to address the runaway growth in network investment and to reduce rising peak summer demand caused by the installation of inefficient air conditioners.”
“We have reduced power consumption now we need to turn our attention to reducing peak summer demand. The introduction of mandatory targets for electricity network businesses to reduce peak demand through investment in better and more efficient technologies that reduce peak demand would be a good start”.
The RAA is a national not-for-profit industry association that represents registered agents that create Renewable Energy Certificates and other Environmental Credits.
For further information, please contact Ric Brazzale on 0419 522 659 or Fiona O’Hehir on 03 9845 3007. Download the full report above to access the fact sheet with all the tables.