Media release: Hundreds to rally over Government failure to support solar energy as administration deadline for company Solar Systems expires

30 10 2009


Hundreds of people are expected to rally outside the State Parliament building today to demand government assistance to Solar Systems as the company’s administration period comes to a close. Solar Systems was contracted to manufacture solar arrays for Australia’s first large scale solar project, a 154 MW solar power plant proposed for Mildura which would have been capable of powering 45,000 households.

Former Solar Systems employee David Turner said that the barriers to transitioning to a renewable energy future are political – rather than technological.

“Solar Systems is the world’s leading concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) electricity producer, with large scale solar power stations operating in the field since 2003. Engineers have already largely solved the technological problems that large scale solar CPV faces, the Government must now show the foresight to commit the framework that solves the social and economic barriers that renewables contend against in Australia,” he said.

Sana Bau from the Save Solar Systems campaign said that the climate crisis demands investment in renewable technologies.

“The coal industry is set gain billions in taxpayer funded compensation when the CPRS comes into effect. The $125m committed to Solar Systems pales in comparison, yet the Government won’t spare this amount,” she said.

“Australia has the highest per capita emissions in the world. However, Australia could start to redeem its track record by supporting the development of effective, demonstrated technologies. Solar Systems is at the head of its field for renewables.”

Matthew Wright, Beyond Zero Emissions campaigner said that Solar Systems technology is of enormous value to Australia and the world.

“World leading technology from Solar Systems has a demonstrated track record. Australia must take advantage of its home grown technology to help this nation – and the world – transition to a decarbonised energy future,” he said.

Chris Breen from the Save Solar Systems campaign said that renewables are a better solution to climate change than emissions trading.

“Stuff the CPRS, build the Mildura Solar Power plant. It is likely that building the Mildura solar power plant will have more impact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than Labor’s carbon trading legislation,” he said.

He added, “Instead of supporting renewable energy jobs, Victorian energy minister Peter Batchelor now intends to jail climate change protesters for up to two years for trespass onto coal-fired power stations.”

Save Solar Systems rally – story and photo opportunities

Where: In front of Parliament House, Melbourne 3000

When: Friday 30 October 2009, 5:30 pm


Media release: Rudd tells UN “to make bold decisions” on climate, while solar shuts at home.

11 10 2009


For immediate release.

Rudd tells UN “to make bold decisions” on climate, while solar shuts at home.

Get Up!, Unions, Green Groups, back fight for Abbotsford solar factory.

The campaign to save Solar Systems is building momentum. Campaign group Get Up! Will launch their Re-energise Australia campaign at the protest – 2pm Sunday October 11 at the Solar Systems factory 45 Grosvenor St, Abbotsford.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has backed the rally & state secretary Steve Dargavel will speak at it.

The protest is demanding government guarantee the construction of Australia’s first large scale solar power station in Mildura and green jobs in Abbotsford.

Simon Sheik, National Director of Get Up! said “If Australia doesn’t want to be left behind in the renewable resources boom, we must act quickly to build a clean energy economy. That should start with an immediate commitment from the Federal Government to support the reinstatement of those workers who’ve already lost their jobs and funding to secure those still working on this important project”.

Adam Bandt, The Greens’ National Convenor and candidate for Melbourne said “Despite plenty of hype, the Rudd Government has not spent one cent on baseload solar power since its election. While billions of dollars are available to support the banks and their executives in times of crisis, the amazing knowledge and skill of the Solar Systems workers are lost to Melbourne and the factory stands idle. If we can save the banks, why can’t we support projects that are saving the planet?”

Carole Wilkinson from Yarra Climate Action Now said “The government didn’t leave building our coal-fired electricity system to the private sector; if they had it would never have been built. We are facing a climate emergency and the need for an urgent transition to 100% renewable energy has never been greater. The government must lead in this transition, just as they led in the transition to coal-fired electricity a century ago.”

David Turner, ex-Solar Systems worker said “Current and former Solar Systems employees demand all Australian Governments provide consistent, effective and binding direction through policy that enables renewable energy to emerge and curb our dependence on fossil fuels. Feed in tariffs, loan guarantees and the commitment to develop renewable technology and capability provide regulatory framework for investor confidence to flourish. European Governments, the US Government, and most recently the Chinese Government have enacted these mechanisms to their nations’ advantage. Australian Governments must immediately endorse their renewable rhetoric with visionary policy”

Chris Breen from the Save Solar Systems campaign said “While Rudd was strutting the world stage talking about climate change – at home, one of the top solar power factories was being closed and Rudd had nothing to say & nothing to offer. Labor’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is a farce if it allows major investment in coal to continue while renewable energy is shut down. Renewable energy has become an essential service. When the private sector fails, government must step in. If government can build schools, it can and should build solar power stations”