An online petition calling on Australia’s federal and state governments to make rooftop solar mandatory for all new-build houses has attracted nearly 12,000 signatures in just one week.
The Change.org petition wants governments to legislate that all newly constructed have solar panels installed to generate a minimum power output, a cause that – at the time of publication – has won support from 11,763 Australians.
“Sure, a house in a forest at the bottom of a valley might be exempt, but for the majority of new housing this should be mandatory,” the petition says.
“It’s not rocket science. More solar panels sitting on houses means less reliance on fossil-fuels in Australia. Are we committed to lowering carbon emissions or not?”
The petition was penned by Melbourne man David Corbett, who told One Step Off The Grid he had decided to launch the campaign after installing solar on his own family home last week, something he said he had wanted to do for some time.
“It has been on my mind for a while that this is a simple step governments can take to increase green energy development at minimal cost to the taxpayer and at the same time generate economic activity,” said Corbett, who works for an environmental air emissions monitoring business.
“I think it would also help to bring the costs of solar installations down for those wishing to retrofit and hopefully build a stronger domestic market.”
Corbett said that, so far, most of the people he has spoken to about the issue seemed to agree, many thinking it was “crazy” that mandatory rooftop solar was not already legislated for new housing.
Certainly, this attitude is reflected in many of the comments that have been added to the petition page.
“It’s a no-brainer,” says one signatory. “If we design new homes well, using natural processes to heat and cool, and build in solar panels and water recycling systems, we are making a step towards a more liveable world.”
“This is so important but so simple,” wrote another, who added there should also be bigger subsidies for solar installations on existing homes.
Another supporter shares that his own recently installed 5kW solar PV system has more than halved his annual electricity bills, and will be paid off in just five years – and this is on the vastly reduced 6c/kWh feed-in tariff.
“Look how much you can save combined with the environmental benefits,” he writes.
In another comment, posted to the thread last week by Corbett himself, he says that part of his reasoning for the call for mandatory rooftop solar was that it would help initiate energy market change on a much broader scale.
“It seems the government isn’t really capable anymore of taking on big challenges,” he wrote.
“Do you think the government of today could take on something like the Snowy Mountain scheme? Let alone something simple like building wind farms.
“So we have to start them off small; changes in bite sized pieces.
“That’s why I think that giving them something small they can cut their teeth on, we’ll be able to get the ball rolling. Maybe bit by bit, we can move them onto bigger and better things.”