Protest at final creditors meeting 2.45pm Fri Feb 19 – 600 Bourke St City

15 02 2010

Download Protest poster

Solar Systems has been sold to the company Silex, this is a better outcome than liquidation, but concerns remain, we will be protesting to demand:

1. Build the Mildura solar power plant now

Not in 2011 as Silex says it may do, but start construction now,

Government must guarantee the full 154 Mwh Mildura solar power plant as a condition of the sale.

2. All Solar Systems working power stations in remote Aboriginal

communities, must be kept running

3. Redundant workers who want their jobs back must be re-employed

4. Redundant employees who have moved on, must be paid their

enitilements,  before PriceWaterhouseCoopers collects its obscene fees

It has been reported PriceWaterhouseCoopers may get a third of the $20 million sale

in fees and repayments for emergency loans.

Protest at final creditors meeting
2.45pm (meeting starts 3pm)
 Fri Feb 19
Institute of Chartered Accountants, Level 3, 600 Bourke St City 

Solar Systems sold, but Mildura power plant won’t go ahead before 2011.

15 02 2010


Company Solar Systems, was to build Australia’s first large scale solar power plant in Mildura. Key investor TRUenergy (which also owns Yallourn brown coal power station and mine) decided not to put more money in without finding further funding partners. This was at the time the financial crisis hit, Solar Systems subsequently went into receivership, making 100 workers redundant.

 The Mildura solar power plant, was planned to power all of Mildura, 45000 homes, and create over 1000 jobs. The Brumby and Rudd governments while promising 125 million between them towards the Mildura solar power plant, have consistently refused to intervene to guarantee it goes ahead.

After a long administration period and several protests by the Save Solar Systems campaign, Solar Systems has now been sold to company Silex.

Concerns remain

The sale of Solar Systems is a better outcome than liquidation, but concerns remain. Silex is a company involved with the nuclear industry and uranium enrichment, their media release promotes nuclear power, which is deadly and not a solution to climate change.

Will the Mildura solar plant still be built and if so when? Silex media release states: Following completion of the acquisition, Silex will conduct a 12 to 18 month technology commercialization program in parallel with business development and marketing activities, with the aim of commencing commercial project activities in 2011. This program could then lead to the construction of a 2MW pilot facility in Mildura (potentially a precursor to a -150MW power station).

While government says $125 million remains on the table, 2011 is after both state and federal elections. The Mildura power plant should be a condition of sale, construction should start now. Climate change means renewable energy has become an essential service. Government must guarantee the Mildura Solar Power plant is built. This should be just the start of a transition to 100% renewable energy. Despite the threat of abrupt climate change, the market has failed to deliver; renewable energy in Australia is only around 6% of total electricity supply. It was government that built all existing coal fired power stations, government must take responsibility for the transition to renewable energy.

The CPRS won’t work

The federal government says we should rely on their version of carbon trading, the CPRS. Yet this is a con, carbon trading is further reliance on the market to solve market failure. Treasury modeling shows it wont reduce Australian emissions before 2035, and even that is assuming “clean coal” works. The CPRS will see the biggest polluters – brown coal, black coal, gas, oil and aluminum, get billions of dollars in handouts, and windfall profits from sale of free permits. After 5 years in Europe, carbon trading has clearly failed.

Building large scale renewable power stations would reduce emissions, but carbon pricing can’t guarantee they are built. We need government policy that starts building now – not just Mildura, but renewable energy across Australia.

The money is there

The federal government showed how government can act in crisis – the stimulus package did help temporarily stabilise the Australian economy, but an opportunity to develop large scale clean energy industries, creating tens of thousands of jobs was squandered. The federal government will spend $36 billion for new submarines for Defence, buying one less could build 11 Mildura solar power plants. The state government is directly spending $363 million on an upgrade to the Melbourne Tennis Centre – thats almost the $420 million asking price of the Mildura plant. We have nothing against tennis, but what matters more, a game of tennis, or the planet on which it is played?

Protest Jan 23 – Build The Mildura Solar Power Plant

23 12 2009

pdf file: rally23rd

Updated Fact Sheet

23 12 2009

The administration period for Solar Systems has been extended to Feb 17, but there is a big risk of liquidation. Come to our protest 12.00pm, January 23 Parliament House to demand that the government guarantees the Mildura solar power plant goes ahead.



Solar Systems Fact Sheet

l                       The building of the first large-scale solar power plant in Australia is in doubt after its owner, Solar Systems, declared that due to lack of private investment, the company faces collapse.

l                       John Brumby said in parliament on 25th November “we have $50 million on the table for the Mildura solar project which I am confident will be delivered.”, but Solar Systems has not been sold as a going concern and Brumby wont step in to guarantee delivery. Kevin Rudd has been posing on climate in Copenhagen, but will not commit to Australia’s first large scale solar power plant. Spain has 3000 MW of solar power installed,  Australia with vastly more solar potential, has 115 MW. Rudd’s proposed carbon trading legislation, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) will not build the Mildura solar power plant. Read the rest of this entry »

SSS campaign end of year party

7 12 2009

Our last meeting for the year will be an opportunity to catch up for drinks on Thursday, 17 December at Tsubu bar, The University of Melbourne. PriceWaterhouseCoopers has announced that the administration decision will be made public on 14 December. We will be discussing where to take this campaign after a conclusion has been reached on Solar Systems. All are welcome. Here are the details:

When: Thursday 17 December 2009
Where: Tsubu Bar in the 1888 Building, The University of Melbourne. 169 Grattan St. (near the intersection of Bouverie St.) Enter from either Swanston or Grattan street.

The Age – news story on Save Solar Systems

30 11 2009

Save Solar Systems was featured in a story in yesterday’s Sunday Age (29 November).

Chris Breen and David Turner from the campaign were quoted in the following exerpt:

”Save Solar Systems” campaign spokesman Chris Breen said organisers wanted the Government to immediately intervene to guarantee that the company’s Abbotsford factory would remain open, the redundant workers reinstated and the solar power plant built.

”We want the Government to step in and do whatever it takes to make the Mildura solar power plant happen,” Mr Breen said.

”If Solar Systems folds, no other company in Australia currently has the technological capability to build the plant. If we don’t get large-scale renewable energy there, then when and where will we get it?”

One sacked worker, Diamond Creek engineer David Turner, is relying on the Government to ensure the plant goes ahead so he can get his job back. ”We knew the company was trying to raise money but we didn’t think the situation was so dire,” he said. ”The point is the technology is here and we just need a bit more willpower to get it over the line.”

The article also mentions our public meeting to be held this Thursday 3 December, from 6:30 pm at Fitzroy Town Hall. This will be the last opportunity to have your say about the future of Solar Systems before the administrators make their decision on what will happen to the company and the 154 MW Mildura power plant.

Sign on to save Solar Systems

18 11 2009

If you are new to our campaign or have yet to have your say about the Solar Systems collapse, go here to sign the Save Solar Systems online petition.

Register your support if you agree to any of the following points.

The government must:

  1. Commit to building the 154MW new solar technology power plant in Mildura ASAP.
  2. Ensure that local, world-leading, proven, innovative, utility scale concentrated photovoltaic technological capability and intellectual property is a step in Australia’s transition to a low-carbon future.
  3. Guarantee the long-term viability of the existing operational Solar System power plants in remote indigenous communities.