Frydenberg’s solar defence: Bernardi has panels and didn’t sign up to Paris

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Frydenberg defends lack of solar panels, saying Cory Bernardi has them, and didn’t sign up for Paris climate target. Say what?

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Only one of these men has solar panels.

Energy minister Josh Frydenberg has again deflected questions and implied criticism about his failure to install solar panels on the rooftop of his Melbourne home, arguing that well known conservative senator Cory Bernardi has them, and doesn’t believe in climate change action.


“I notice that Cory Bernardi put solar panels on his roof and he never signed up to Paris (the international climate deal)”, Frydenberg said when asked about his lack of solar after a speech at the National Energy Efficiency Congress in Melbourne..

We’re not sure exactly sure what he meant by the reference, other than to point out that installing solar likely has little to do with environmental issues for most people, and is usually an economic issue.

“There is a cost equation there,” Frydenberg said …. “it does pay itself back and it takes a few years to do that.

“I would like to have solar panels on my roof, but for me it has just been a question of making that decision at the right time,” he said later, before going on to talk about his desire to have more smart meters in households.

Frydenberg said there was little doubt that more solar would be installed, and more battery storage too.

Most energy experts predict that the numbers of households with solar will triple and then quadruple, and around half of all demand will be sourced by “distributed energy” – consumers generating and storing their own power.

So far, only prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has gone down this path, presumably generating at least half of the energy needs of his Point Piper home with a 14kW and a 14kWh battery storage array, organised by his son, Alex.

“We got some new ones recently and a battery and that’s certainly meant that for much of the day, even with the big power demand we have there (increased by his heightened security protection), we’re actually not drawing any electricity from the grid,” Turnbull said in a radio interview in September.

Bernardi has put 12kW of rooftop solar on his home in South Australia and we understand he is monitoring his usage and solar output before deciding whether to add battery storage – perhaps to help avoid the blackouts he confidently predicts will be the result of people… installing more solar.

Chief scientist Alan Finkel is more sanguine, noting that the rapid uptake of storage that Frydenberg identified was likely to create more than enough capacity to meet security and reliability needs of even a 50 per cent share of renewables.

Which then begs a question about the need for a National Energy Guarantee and how it might be framed.

Perhaps it might be framed in a way that the reliability obligation put on retailers might actually be zero, in line with the needs of the market operator, rather than some arbitrary estimate of how much storage should be pared with each megawatt of renewable energy capacity.

It’s probably more likely that Frydenberg will end up putting solar panels on the roof.



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  1. George Darroch 3 years ago

    Frydenberg is a Melburnian? What did we ever do to deserve him?

    • mick 3 years ago

      i feel the same way about barnardi-is this the best we can contribute?

    • Joe 3 years ago

      Poor Joshie, living in Melbourne and working in Canberra, it can get depressing at times. Perhaps Joshie needs to get out into the sunshine a bit more. There is free Vitamin D to be made for his body and free power to be made for his home.

  2. john 3 years ago

    Well at least he did say they will pay for themselves, where as a common comment by previous politicians have been not so genuine, one for instance would always say all the time ” Solar panels will never pay for themselves in a million years”

    • Alex Hromas 3 years ago

      Are you implying that he is economically incompetent? This is much more serious than the private action/public policy divide.

      • Joe 3 years ago

        …just recklessly incompetent full stop.

        • Alex Hromas 3 years ago

          OK I am fine with that

  3. George Michaelson 3 years ago

    I think you’re missing a point here. Back in the 80s, Denis Healey (chancellor of the exchequer in the UK) was attacked by the press for his wife taking elective surgery in a private hospital because it conflicted with labor party policy. He politely told them to eff off, his wife was an individual not an elected representative and they needed to distinguish between matters of policy on a national level and any individuals rights.

    Frydenberg doesn’t need to have panels or a battery at home to support them any more than I do. Frydenberg is equally capable of having them at home and opposing them in the general case. There is no nexus between having them, and your political view of them in government.

    Lay off it. There’s no real story.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      Err Georg, there is plenty of real story to be had with our Joshie. Afterall he is a Minister , The Minister for The Environment and Energy no less. Publicly he gives RE a headkicking whenever the politics allows. Installing home rooftop solar would be a huge ‘own goal’ by Joshie, it is as simple as that.

      • George Michaelson 3 years ago

        No, this is a pretty important point for some people (I’m actually half-and-half on this) -The distinction between private acts, what Frydenberg does as a citizen, and public acts, what his role demands of him in public policy and his party line, is pretty big. If we’re going to take people on shouting ‘Hyprocrite’ remember when you point, three fingers point back at yourself.

        The ministers collectively are doing awful things to our national energy policy. I don’t care what they do at home: its what they do to the national economy which concerns me. Focus on the economy, not on his home life.

        • Joe 3 years ago

          On my reckoning Joshie is 100% consistent with his ‘home rooftop solar non action’ and his ‘public action as a Minister’…he just doesn’t support RE. And this is the great hypocrisy of him being Minister for The Environment and Energy. Home is where the heart is they say and the 21st Century is the era of Renewable Energy. So, what positive leadership is Joshie providing for RE in his role as Minister and as a Private Citizen…ZERO….entirely consistent! Joshie is all about ‘baseload coal’ whatever that really is, he is all about Liddell keeping on and on, he is all about giving SA and Premier Jay public sprays with anything to do with their RE, he is all about giving the Labor States and The ACT public sprays with their Renewable Energy Targets. The man / Joshie has no shame, he should just resign.

    • RobertO 3 years ago

      Hi All, remember that Frydenberg also canned the WTG on Norfolk Island, ARENA was about to sponsor them. He is anti renewable energy.

    • trackdaze 3 years ago

      He is also the environment minister.

      • Joe 3 years ago

        …you wouldn’t know it from his actions and words, he is a disgrace.

  4. John Saint-Smith 3 years ago

    When behind-the-meter residential and commercial/industrial solar/battery installations begin to dominate the energy generation market in Australia, no doubt Frydenberg and the COALition will attempt to take the credit. Until then, they will continue to denigrate renewables as ‘dangerous, unreliable, and worst of all, uneconomic’.

    It’s no wonder that both the renewables advocates and the coal-mining resistance lobby both think the Government should just ‘get out of the way!’

  5. JIm 3 years ago

    I guess Josh has figured out think globally act locally is a little like dual citizenship – it doesn’t advance his career prospects

  6. Robert Westinghouse 3 years ago

    The people are voting with their feet and installing PV and batteries – GOOD. LNP is bad for Australian, but good for BIG Power and the rich…. Come on Australia wake up and tell the LNP to stick it….I am buying more batteries…Get batteries before the ban them….

    • Joe 3 years ago

      Didn’t they try that before with the ‘Bunker’ business? Just like night follows day, they / The COALition will come back with another sortie against home batteries.

      • Robert Westinghouse 3 years ago

        Mate – Sad but true…The LNP just keeps kicking the little guy.

  7. howardpatr 3 years ago

    What a pleasure it was to listen to this guy on RN this morning – he was in stark contrast to the likes of Turnbull, Frydenberg, Canavan. Really positive and motivational rather than the RWRNJ driven dialogue that comes from the LNP Government:-

  8. trackdaze 3 years ago

    Fits with the hostility he has towards anything but coal.

  9. Ian 3 years ago

    I learnt from another mid- profile coalition member for Robertson Lucy Wicks- (on the Central Coast NSW)- that she doesn’t have solar on her home either. She did say it was rented though.
    There is at least one organisation (Suntenants) who incentivise Landlords to install solar and get a 10% return) while the tenant receives (about) 20% discounted energy.

    I approached her at a ‘listening post’ to discuss her propaganda mail-out – about what the COALition was doing for reducing electricity prices. Can you believe it – there was not a single mention of solar PV or wind! and humours the Tesla battery in SA.
    So I’m writing a letter the the editor / open letter about it)

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