Category: News

Industry Report – Solar Businesses in Australia

The full report can be found here

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.  

Facts about Solar and the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme

Click here to view the full fact sheet

A number of spurious claims have been made about the solar industry, the renewable energy target and the cost and contribution that solar makes.

The REC Agents Association (RAA) has developed a “Facts” section to its website that includes up-to-date information about solar and includes data and information about the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) and links to analysis expanding on the contribution that the solar industry makes.

Certificates are created under the SRES which forms part of the Renewable Energy Target which supports the progressive increase in renewable energy.

RAA is a national industry association representing companies that create and trade renewable energy certificates. RAA members work with solar companies to create Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) that support households and businesses investing in solar.

RECs generally account for 20 to 30% of the capital cost of a typical solar system and reduces the payback from 8-9 years to 6-7 years.

The average residential PV system installed in Australia is approximately 3.5 kilo Watt (kW) which typically costs $9,000 to $10,000. Certificates to the value of approximately $2,500 would be created reducing the up-front cost to the household to $6,500 to $7,500. This sized system would produce about 80 per cent of a typical household’s electricity. Some of the electricity produced will be exported to the grid (40%) when the output of the system is greater than the household’s usage – typically in the middle of the day.

Click here to view the full fact sheet

RAAs response to Judith Sloan’s article in the Australian on 25.02.2014

Click here to read the full media release

The REC Agents Association (RAA) is an industry body representing the creators and traders of renewable energy certificates across Australia. The RAA wishes to respond to Judith Sloan’s article in The Australian on Tuesday 25 February 2014 titled “Junking Energy Target is Right” to correct some of the statements made in that article as noted in bullet point form below:

• The December 2013 Report on Electricity Price Trends by the Australian Electricity Market Commission clearly shows the different components to the retail costs of electricity with network costs (the cost for transmission and
distribution) being by far the largest components of domestic electricity bills 1.

• The cost of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) is nowhere near the $60 – $300 a tonne. Certificates for a megawatt hour (MWh) for the small scheme are capped at $40 and have traditionally been bought and sold on the secondary market for a substantial discount to this capped price. Certificates for a MWh of large scale renewable energy are also capped but at $65.

• The impact of renewable energy on the wholesale electricity price is that it places a downward effect on the electricity price not an increase as claimed. Solar installations generate electricity during the day when demand is highest and thus reduces the demand for electricity from the national electricity market. Further, the additional renewable generation from renewable power stations such as wind provides increased competition for fossil fuel
generators. This means that higher cost fossil fuel generators do not have to be dispatched which reduces the wholesale price for all customers.

• The RET provides partial exemptions from liability to the Energy Intensive Trade Exposed Industry (EITEIs) between 60-80% of their RET liability. EITEIs have also benefited from lower wholesale electricity prices due to the
RET.

• Key findings from the RAA analysis are that the cost of the RET that gets passed through to residential customers currently amounts to a modest 1.12 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) or 4 per cent of the average residential
electricity bill. The cost of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) that supports residential solar currently accounts for 0.54 cents per kWh or 2 per cent of a customer’s bill and is expected to more than halve over the next two years to account for less than 1 per cent. The reduction in the wholesale price due to the RET is estimated to be 0.67 cents per kWh. In the case of the SRES the reduction in the wholesale price cancels out the future cost increase that gets passed through to customers 2.

1 http://www.aemc.gov.au/Media/docs/2013-Residential-Electricity-Price-Trends-Final-Report-723596d1-fe66-43da-

2 http://www.recagents.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/RAA-Impact-of-SRES-on-Power-prices-Final.pdf

Click here to read the full media release

RAA report on impact of the Renewable Energy Target on power prices

The full report can be found here

Media release –  Small-scale renewable energy target zero cost to householders

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) will have a zero net cost impact on household power bills, according to an analysis released today by the REC Agents Association (RAA), a national industry body representing companies that trade in renewable energy certificates.

The cost of the SRES, which helps families install solar panels and solar hot water systems, is expected to halve over the next two years to less than 1% of a power bill. The reduction in wholesale electricity prices delivered by the SRES cancels out any related cost increase that gets passed through to customers.

“This analysis destroys the myth that the Renewable Energy Target is a major driver of soaring power bills”, said Ric Brazzale, President of RAA. “The Renewable Energy Target is low cost and high achieving. It must be maintained to finish its job.”

“The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme deserves a gold medal”, said Fiona O’Hehir, Vice-President of RAA. “It has helped 5 million Australians cut their power bills by installing solar and has created 15,000 jobs and will do so at zero cost to households or the Federal Budget. That is an extraordinary achievement.”

The RAA analysis uses Australian Energy Market Commission data to show the make up of power bills and the contribution of the two parts of the RET, the SRES and the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET). The analysis is a significant, early contribution to the RET Review, announced by the Government on Monday. Cost will be a major focus of the RET Review.

Key findings from the RAA analysis are:

  •  The cost of the Renewable Energy Target that gets passed through to residential customers currently amounts to a modest 1.12 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) or 4 per cent of the average residential electricity bill.
  •  The cost of the SRES currently accounts for 0.54 cents per kWh or 2 per cent of a customer’s bill and is expected to more than halve over the next two years to account for less than 1 per cent.
  •  The RET puts downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices and as a result wholesale prices are considerably lower than expected. The reduction in the wholesale price due to the RET is estimated to be 0.67 cents per kWh.
  •  In the case of the SRES the reduction in the wholesale price cancels out the future cost increase that gets passed through to customers.

“RAA’s analysis shows regulated transmission and distribution cost has been the biggest driver of rising power prices to date and is expected to be the major contributor to rising power prices in the future”, said Mr Brazzale.

Comment: contact Ric Brazzale 0419 522 659 or Fiona O’Hehir 0419 176 167

The full report can be found here