Queensland election: Will the solar vote win the day?

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It’s no secret Qld solar supporters are disgruntled with the Newman government, but could the solar vote decide the outcome of the election?

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Queenslanders heading to the polls on Saturday now have an easy reference guide for where their preferred political party stands on solar power, with the launch of the Election 2015 Solar Scorecard.

Put together by Solar Citizens and launched on Thursday, the Scorecard rates the major parties’ solar policy based on their responses to questions on the five key issues facing solar in Queensland: a fair price for rooftop solar, fees, feed-in tariffs, energy storage and the RET.

QLD_2015_Solar_Scorecard

Solar has indeed been a red hot political issue in the Sunshine State over the past few years, and a dangerous game for the (quite probably outgoing) Premier, Campbell Newman.

Nearly two years ago, concerns were raised in industry circles that the Newman energy policy cocktail – a combination of state subsidies on electricity use, price freezes, tariff designs that add fixed costs, and demonising new technology rather than embracing it – would accelerate a spiral towards stranded assets rather than an efficient network.

Among voters, meanwhile, his policies have more broadly been perceived as an attack on the nearly one-third of Queensland home owners who are trying to save money by installing solar.

Labor and the Greens have tapped this zeitgeist; the latter launching its Queensland election campaign with a promise to remove barriers to installing rooftop solar, and to spend up $170 on research, solar loan mechanisms and initiatives to install PV on public and low-income housing.

Labor has been a bit more vague, with promises from leader Annastacia Palaszczuk of one million new solar rooftops and a fair price for solar.

The question is, does the solar vote have the power to decide the outcome of the Queensland election?

According to new data released by Solar Citizens, the answer is yes. The data (see tables below), compiled by Sunwiz from Clean Energy Regulator records, show the percentage of solar households exceeds the margin for the electorate in the vast majority of Queensland seats.

In Newman’s own electorate of Ashgrove, which the LNP holds by a margin of just 6 per cent, 10 per cent of residents (or 17,615 households) have a PV system on their roof.

“The Newman Government squaring blame on solar owners for the rise in power bills has been misguided to say the least,” said Solar Citizens national director Claire O’Rourke in a statement on Thursday.

“Not only did it show he was out of touch with what Queenslander felt they must to to reduce their power bills, it may have critical repercussions at the ballot box.

“About 33 per cent of Queensland homes now have solar installed on their rooftop and we know many more are keen for support to go solar and cut their household energy bills.”

This disconnect between the LNP, voters and other parties on solar is also reflected on the Solar Scorecard, adds O’Rourke.

“Overall, Labor, The Greens and The Palmer United Party made positive responses to solar policy questions we put to them. They all have clear plans to support solar and solar homeowners in the Sunshine State.

“However the policies from the Newman Government are bitterly disappointing. ….By refusing to commit to a fair feed-in tariff, or to protect solar jobs and the Renewable Energy Target they are alienating voters and missing an opportunity to help people take control of spiralling power bills.

“A recent poll conducted found that 27 per cent of Australian households have rooftop solar power installed. The most recent data tells us that there are more than 420,000 solar households in Queensland – all parties contesting Saturday’s election would be wise to remember this.

“The next State Government is responsible for making sure solar and other renewable industries are supported so household power bills come down and new investment and jobs in these promising industries are created for Queensland.

“Solar Citizens urges all candidates contesting the Queensland election to put the support of households who want to benefit from generating their own clean solar energy front and centre in the final days before the poll.”

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8 Comments
  1. Chris Fraser 5 years ago

    The Liberal approach in Queensland appears to be ideological. If solar votes mattered more to them, they would have been out on the hustings with some genuine pork barrel by now.

  2. john 5 years ago

    The message has been very well put by lots of media.
    People who have solar are parasites and they are the reason you pay more for power.
    Sadly that is the message and it is the common belief.
    Never let a fact get in the front of an untruth.
    The shutting down of 5 power stations the saving of having to build 2 more ignore that.
    The total removal of high cost of buying power in the last few years ignore that.
    In fact the sad fact is most people have no idea what has happened but they will agree ” My power bill went up so is the fault of those awful Solar people”
    I guess the real problem we do not exactly have a very well education population.

    • Ken Dyer 5 years ago

      John, along with your grammar, I think you have your facts confused. How, by any stretch of the imagination can you call people who have spent their own after tax dollars on installing solar panels be parasites?
      The reality is that they are not only concerned that big coal continues to be heavily subsidised by taxpayer dollars, but that carbon continues to be pumped into our atmosphere by these fossil fuel burners.
      Perhaps you are one of those making up an uneducated population?

      • Chris Fraser 5 years ago

        No, john is a believer. He only said the parasite tag was common belief, perhaps as it is sponsored by the desperation of the incumbency. It’s not his own belief.

        • Ken Dyer 5 years ago

          Thankyou Chris, I misread John’s post. Perhaps what he should have said was:

          In Queensland, the taxpayers are subjected to the parasitic activities of the Newman Government, who are subsidising the coal industry that is feeding off the gullibility of people who have been bombarded by the propaganda printed by the Queensland monopoly of the Murdoch press, that provides the distorted media coverage in Queensland.

          Here is the real story:

          https://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/stanwell-blames-solar-for-decline-in-fossil-fuel-baseload-54543

          Note well, Queenslanders, that your STATE OWNED power stations made a PROFIT, despite the the installation of solar.

          If your power generators are sold as what happened in Victoria 20 years ago by the Kennett Government, all those profits will go to overseas companies, and power prices will increase.

          Privatised power attracts the real parasites. They are like vampire squid, relentlessly jamming their blood funnel into anything that smells like money, and they do not care who or what they hurt in the process.

      • john 5 years ago

        I used heavy sarcasm in my post.

        Of course the effect of solar has been beneficial to all not just the people who spent their own money.

        The RET review while aimed at showing how bad RE is actually showed the benefit to everyone from solar.

        • john 5 years ago

          Graph Qld dispatched power

  3. john 5 years ago

    While it appears that export of power costs $.06 per KwH in fact with 10% loss in zone 2 regional Qld it is only $.025; for every 100 KwH exported it is a gain of 10 Kwh @ $.35 the gain in Zone 3 is huge.

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