Climate Change and the Federal Election. Who should I vote for?

For most of us, the federal election can be a confusing time. Trying to work out who to vote for is a difficult choice and unfortunately, a lot of the time we make an uninformed one. It’s important to do your research on the topics that matter most and make the choice that you feel is right for you. But it’s easier said than done. You’ve probably got a stack on letters on your kitchen table and are rejecting unknown callers left, right and center.

My best advice is to pick the top 3-5 issues that mean the most to you and research each parties’ policies. If Climate Change is at the top of your list, then I’ve done the hard work for you. Let’s take a look at what each major party is promising to protect the environment if they’re elected.


The coalition’s environmental protection plan is more of a review of what they have done than what they are going to do. However, they have committed to meet our global emissions target of 26% to 28% by 2030.

The Liberal’s Climate Change Solutions Package includes the following objectives:

  • A $2 billion Climate Solutions Fund to help farmers, small businesses and Indigenous communities reduce their emissions and lower energy costs
  • Constructing Snowy 2.0
  • Bringing renewable energy from Tasmania to the mainland
  • Developing a National Electric Vehicle Strategy
  • Improving energy efficiency for households and businesses
  • The ‘Cleaner, Greener Local Communities’ initiative that will support local communities to reduce emissions and improve air and water quality

The LNP also has a long-term sustainability plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef, a Threatened Species Strategy, a National Landcare program and a National Food Waste Strategy.


The Labor Party is focusing on reducing ‘skyrocketing’ power prices. The ALP are promising cheaper, cleaner power with a plan to deliver 50% renewable energy by 2030. Here are some of their big goals to tackle climate change:

  • End power privatisation
  • Protect families and small businesses with a regulated power prices
  • Stronger gas controls
  • Support workers and communities transitioning from coal plants
  • Support businesses and communities with access to renewable energy and to cut waste
  • Set a national electric vehicle transport target of 50% new car sales by 2030
  • Help businesses and farmers to reduce pollution and tackle climate change

The Greens

As usual, The Greens have a comprehensive plan to tackle climate change and as usual it is one that will require a large budget. The Greens have a plan for ‘a renewable economy that tackles climate change’ which includes the following actions:

  • Phase out coal and move to 100% renewable energy by 2030
  • Create 180, 000 new jobs in renewables
  • Provide support for coal workers and communities
  • Create ‘Power Australia’ – a not-for-profit public energy retailer
  • Prioritise and properly fund clean, safe and affordable public transport & start the electric vehicle revolution
  • End political donations to mining companies

It seems like each party is taking the social pressure of acting against climate change seriously this year. There are a lot of promises to protect our planet, who do you think will follow through?

How to protect your business from the 2020 Tariff changes

In 2020 Ergon are removing some transitional tariffs that are going to affect farmers and businesses in Regional Queensland. For some businesses this change will enable them to save on their energy costs but for others it might mean higher energy rates.

What Tariffs are being removed?

Ergon are removing 4 tariffs that will affect businesses and 3 that will affect farmers. Below is a list of the tariffs that will expire and Ergon’s suggested alternative tariffs.

Current Tariff Type of business Transitional tariff type Alternative tariffs to consider
21 Small or large Anytime use 20 (most common), 22A, 24, 41, 44, 45, 46, 50
20L Large Anytime use 44, 45, 46, 50
22L Small or large Time of use 20, 22A, 24, 41, 44, 45, 46, 50
37 Small or large Time of use 20, 22A, 24, 44, 45, 46, 50
62 Farming Time of use 20, 22A, 24, 41, 44, 45, 46, 50
65 Farming Time of use 20, 22A, 24, 41, 44, 45, 46, 50
66 Farming Time of use 20, 22A, 24, 41, 44, 45, 46, 50


Why are these tariffs expiring?

These tariff changes are part of a government tariff reform in Queensland.

What should I do?

These tariff changes are happening and the best thing you can to is research your options. Make sure you know the benefits and disadvantages of all the alternatives tariffs so that you can make the right choice when the time comes. If you fail to change your tariff, you will be appointed a new default one and it may not be the best one for your business.  Make the most of your current tariff while your still have it and set yourself a reminder to change it before 30th June 2020.

How can I protect my business?

For some, these tariff changes will be positive, and you might see reduced energy costs. However, for others, these changes could result in higher energy rates and negatively affect your business.

An option to protect your business is to make the switch to solar. You might be thinking that we’re just taking the opportunity to sell you something, but in this case, it might be your best solution. If your only option is to switch to tariffs that will increase your energy prices, considering solar is worthwhile.

What if I can’t afford solar?

Horan & Bird can offer our customers a service call Solar Flex. This service enables homes and businesses to make the switch to solar without the capital outlay. In return, you simply pay us for what the system generates but at a reduced rate. This is a great option for those that will be affected by tariff changes as it gives businesses the opportunity to lock in a low daytime energy rate and reduce their risks associated with new tariffs.

Horan & Bird has Developed Technology to Harness Solar Energy at Night


Not Sure How To Use Your Solar? Find Out Here

How to use your Solar might seem obvious but for many of us that don’t know much about solar or are seeking advice from friends or family, it could get a little confusing.

If you’re on the 44c Feed-in-Tariff

If your solar was installed before 2013 then you are probably on the 44c Feed-in-Tariff and have always been told to export all your solar electricity back to the grid. This is because you are better off exporting all your solar to the grid and receiving 44c for every kilowatt produced than consuming it. Be aware that if you are on the 44c FIT and you want to make changes to your system, that you may lose your eligibility. Visit the QLD Government website to find out what changes would affect your Feed-in-Tariff.

If you’re on the Solar Feed-in-Tariff for regional QLD

However, if your solar was installed after 2013 or you are considering having it installed now, the way you use your solar is a little bit different. The current feed-in-tariff in Queensland is 9.36c. This doesn’t mean that you can’t still save hundreds of dollars a year on your electricity bill. You just need to consume your solar rather than exporting it. Now you may be worried that you’re not home all day and you can’t consume your electricity when the sun is shining.

What if I’m not home during the day?

Timers are a marvelous thing and luckily, most new appliances have them built in. You can set your dishwasher and washing machine to turn on during the day when you’re at work. Most solar companies will also assist you in purchasing a hot water timer so that your solar will power your hot water system and you don’t need to purchase a separate system or switch to gas to save. Of course, the biggest energy consumer of all is the pool pump. Homeowners will spend $800-$1200 a year maintaining their pool[i]. Thankfully, you can set a timer to have your solar run your pool pump during the day as well.

Maintain your system

It is imperative that you maintain your system to ensure you get the maximum benefit from it. We recommend having your system cleaned at least once every 12 months and making sure there are no shading issues that may impact your system performance.

Thinking about going Solar?

Horan & Bird have a number of options available to help you save with solar. Click here and complete the form and we will get in touch, or alternatively give us a call on 1300 467 262.

Horan & Bird 2018 Recap – How are we travelling?

2018 has been a big year for Horan & Bird and it seemed like a good idea to look back and recap some of the highlights.


Horan & Bird entered new territory this year. Expanding into Emerald, Gladstone, The Sunshine Coast and crossing the border to Adelaide and Perth. While some locations have been more successful than others, every new location is a step in the right direction. Adelaide has been the 2018 hotspot for the company with two Energy Specialists in the region and 60 systems sold in the first 4 months.


H&B not only grew geographically but in personnel too. In 2018 the company employed 41 new people in 3 locations and created 19 new roles.


In 2018 Horan & Bird installed 2,136 new solar systems. While the days of the 44c Feed-in-Tariff remains our benchmark for installs, 2018 has been a record year for Solar Flex. This year alone we have installed 1,479 Solar Flex systems, a 25% increase from last year’s install numbers.


Our commercial portfolio has also grown this year, with a large portion of it contributing to our penetration into rural farming markets. In 2018, H&B installed 416 new commercial systems with 385 of those being Solar Flex deals.

Our impact.

2018 has seen Horan & Bird install 15 megawatts of solar which is 58,000 panels. That 15 megawatts of solar has done more than help H&B grow and expand. We have saved the environment from approximately 20,411 tonnes of carbon emissions[i] and saved our customers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Looking forward.

Horan & Bird’s Group Manager, John Horan hopes that 2019 will be our biggest year to date. “We are currently in the process of bringing on more partners in Adelaide and we hope to expand into Victoria and New South Wales in the New Year. We also hope to increase the number of new solar battery installations to help our customers save even more.”

Solar Flex – How does it look 12 months on?

Twelve months ago, Mary & Michael had a 6kW solar system installed using a Solar Flex Power Purchase Agreement with Horan and Bird. Solar Flex is where you pay $0 for the solar system and you pay for the solar electricity that the system generates but at rates that are up to 60% less than what you pay directly to from grid.

In light of Mary & Michael’s Solar Flex anniversary we investigated the financial and environmental impact of their system in the last 12 months. Prior to having Solar Flex installed, Mary & Michael were spending $600 a quarter and $2,400 a year on their electricity bill. 12 months on and the couple have saved $605.32 for the year and approximately $150 a quarter without having to purchase the system.

Going solar not only helps you save money on your energy bill, it also helps to reduce your carbon footprint. In the 12 months since having their system installed, Mary & Michael have also saved the environment from 8.95 tonnes of carbon emissions. The average Australia produces approximately 16 tonnes of carbon emissions per year which means that Mary & Michael have reduced their carbon footprint by almost 25% just be going solar!

To find out how you can save on your energy bill and reduce your carbon footprint call us on 1300 467 262 or click here and complete the form and we’ll be in touch.

How Indigenous Australians are leading the way in sustainability

In early 2018, Horan and Bird provided Solar to Girudala, a community organisation that supports education, sustainability, health, housing and employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Whitsunday region. Over the past 30 years Girudala’s housing program has become one of the largest in North Queensland with a portfolio of 55 homes and an Elders Homestead of 8 units in the Bowen and Proserpine area.

The Beginning

Girudala, is a well known asset to the Bowen community and Solar Flex was a great way to help the community thrive by reducing their operating costs. After meeting with the Horan and Bird team, the Girudala Group had a Solar Flex system installed on the head office in George Street. After seeing the savings, they decided to have Solar Flex systems installed on all 55 residential properties.

Being a not-for-profit organisation that aims to provide affordable housing, Solar Flex was the perfect option for Girudala, Solar Flex has enabled their residents to save money and be more sustainable without having to increase the businesses operating expenses.

Present day

The Horan and Bird team recently met with some of the residents to see how they were going and assess how much they were saving. The team calculated that on average they are saving anywhere between $600-$1,200 a year on their electricity bill.

How it’s affecting the residents

Paul is a resident of Girudala, and he is saving on average $300 a quarter on his energy bills. Paul said that he was a bit skeptical about Solar Flex in the beginning but after seeing the savings straight away he was pleasantly surprised. Paul told us that he uses a bill paying account and at the end of the year there is always a return left over from his electricity bill. “It’s like having a mini-Christmas fund” Paul White stated.

Contact us

Horan and Bird’s sales manager Paul Horan hopes to help more communities like Girudala across Australia. To find out more, contact the team on 1300 467 262.


Where are we now?

In the past three years, Horan and Bird have grown rapidly across Queensland expanding their reach from Atherton to the Gold Coast.  In recent months, Horan and Bird have crossed the border venturing into South Australia and Western Australia.

In August this year Horan and Bird employed their first two Energy Specialists in Adelaide to provide residents and businesses in The Festival State with Solar Flex: a solar solution that allows you to go solar without paying for the system.* South Australia is the clean energy leader in Australia with 45 percent of electricity being generated by renewables in 2017.  With the boom of renewables in SA it’s no wonder Horan and Bird have already sold 50 systems in the first 2 months. Sales manager Paul Horan expects Solar Flex sales to grow even further in the area and reach 3 megawatts in the next 12 months.

This month Horan and Bird have also employed their first Energy Specialist in Perth, Western Australia. WA is at the opposite end of the renewables race with only 7.5 percent of energy produced by clean energy in 2017. Despite the lack of large scale renewable energy projects, The Golden State has the second highest small-scale solar installs in the country. Horan and Bird expect to see the same growth in Western Australia that they have seen in South Australia and Queensland.

To arrange your free Solar Flex consultation, click here.

Stay tuned for more expansions…

*You may incur other costs in order for your property to be solar ready (such as electrical works, cabling or roof repairs) and for meter upgrade or changeover.
^Solar energy rate is subject to change for CPI annually and change in law. 



Solar Flex helping local families save on their Energy Bills

A growing number of North Queensland residents are saving on their electricity bills with a solar solution that costs nothing to install on their roof.

While more than 30 per cent of Queensland homes already have a rooftop solar system[i], solar experts Horan & Bird expect this to continue to grow thanks to products like Solar Flex.

Solar Flex is helping more customers enjoy the benefits of solar by removing the upfront cost of purchasing and installing the system,” says John Horan, Group Manager of Horan and Bird. “By purchasing the solar generated energy at a discount to the grid rate, customers are also able to save on their electricity bills.”

Horan and Bird, a North Queensland solar company purchased by Origin in 2015, is selling and installing Solar Flex throughout Queensland.

With Solar Flex, Origin funds the solar system and the customer buys the solar energy generated on their roof at a discount to the grid rate.

With a family of five, local Townsville residents Brendan and Liz Johnson had an average quarterly electricity bill of around $1,200.

Since signing up to Solar Flex and having a 5kW system installed on their home, the Johnsons have reduced their electricity bill by about $850 per year.

“With five people in our house, we use a lot of electricity and our bills were quite expensive,” says Brendan Johnson. “The $850 we have been able to save with solar has been great because we have put that towards making our annual family holiday a little bit more special.”

You Don’t Have to Pay $15,000+ for a Solar System

Horan & Bird is introducing a new way to power your house with Origin’s Solar Flex.

Residential and commercial property owners across Australia can now have a full solar system installed without an upfront investment.

“Thanks to Origin Energy’s Solar Flex solution, the average Australian income earner can afford to make the switch to solar power and join thousands of Australians who are already reaping the benefits from solar energy,” John Horan said.

Australia has some of the steepest electricity rates in the world, and the recent major survey completed, published by the Courier mail this month had 71% of residents in Bill Stress. Solar Flex is a very convenient solution for consumers to get what they want without being scared off by heavy costs.

Offering consumers only the best quality, tested and trusted products delivering optimum lifetime performance, Horan and Bird is an extremely popular choice for customers.

Our highly skilled team are qualified master electricians and receive ongoing advanced training to ensure every individual solar system is installed to maximise performance for each property.

Solar Flex has been an extremely popular product.  We have about 90% of our customers now going Solar without having to use their own capital.”

“My Power Bill went from $1200 to about $600. I think Solar Flex is a great option for people who can’t afford to purchase a Solar System outright. It’s made a huge difference to our bills.” – Carrie-Ann Vigar (Horan & Bird client).

How Solar Flex Works:

Deciding to make the switch to solar is as simple as saying YES.

Step 1: We’ll have one of our Solar Specialists look at your situation – they’ll make sure Solar Flex is the right solution for your energy usage and check that it can be installed at your home.

Step 2: You can choose a contract period.

Step 3: If you decide to go ahead, you’ll enter into an Origin Solar Flex agreement and we’ll lock in a low solar contract rate.

Step 4: Once all that’s sorted, we’ll have the solar system installed at a time that suits both parties.

Step 5: From then on, your solar system will generate energy and you will start paying for your electricity at the agreed upon low energy rate.

Whilst every property owner could benefit from solar energy, especially coupled with a battery solution, the following people should stop to think why they haven’t already invested in solar.

Does this sound like you?   

  • Are your quarterly bills reaching over the $400 mark?
  • Do you have an electric Hot Water System?
  • Does your property have a swimming pool?
  • Are you a business owner? How would you like to reduce your business’ costs, and boast an environmentally friendly energy solution?
  • Are you working from home and utilising multiple appliances throughout the day on a regular basis?

Speak with one of our local experienced consultants today in regards to Solar Flex for an obligation free consultation. There’s never been a better time than now.

1300 467 262