Former prime minister Tony Abbott last year rejected a “Christmas present” of free solar panels for the official Sydney residence at Kirribilli House, arguing that they would be too costly to clean, and posed a “security risk”.
New prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has no such qualms. Turnbull has already installed rooftop solar at his Point Piper mansion, although one suspects it is not quite enough to provide all the energy needs for such a big house. But no doubt Turnbull is appreciative of the lower electricity bills.
Turnbull’s residence, pictured above in the centre, has more than 20 panels, so probably an array of around 4.5kW.
Nigel Morris, formerly head of Solar Business Services and now CEO of solar PV company RoofJuice Australia, notes: “Change is rarely easy, but what this solar powered home represents is a massive philosophical change at the highest level.”
He would like Turnbull to complete that transformation by replacing Abbott’s “coal is good for humanity” slogan with a new one: Solar is good for humanity.
“The replacement of Tony Abbott with Malcolm Turnbull demonstrates that we weren’t all a crazy, latte sipping minority set. Turns out, the Coalition and the polls agreed that the government was out of touch and lacking vision after all,” Morris writes.
“Many years have passed since I first met Malcolm Turnbull. I was aware that he installed solar on his home many years ago and had many frank and exciting conversations about solar with him. Time has passed but I actually think he gets it.
“So, yesterday I started an official campaign aimed at our new Prime Minister. I am calling on Malcolm Turnbull to say five simple words “Solar is good for Humanity” . Will you join me in this call? Simply click here.”
Editor’s note: Morris has done some more research on Turnbull’s solar system. He writes: Our new Prime Minister got himself a 3.5kW solar system, which was a whopper back in 1997 when the entire Australian market was 6MW per year (compared to around 800MW per year today). Although I wasn’t directly involved, I do recall that the system features Australian made solar modules and was supplied by the nice folks at TodaeSolar. For what it’s worth according to our historical price data, the average price in Australia was around $12,000 per kW making it a $42,000 investment.
To which the Editor adds: Former Queensland Campbell Newman was also one of the first investors in rooftop solar in his Brisbane home, before launching an anti-solar “inner city latte sipping” campaign against the technology. Let’s hope Turnbull doesn’t follow.