Freshly appointed Shadow Energy Minister, Bowen, eager to shift the renewable conversation in Australia

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Chris Bowen on Friday toured One Stop Warehouse’s Western Sydney warehouse facilities. The tour was part of the newly-appointed Shadow Minister’s process of familiarising himself with the industry and stakeholders in his new portfolio. Bowen described himself as excited about the appointment. “Love it,” he told pv magazine Australia.

“I want to see more manufacturing in Australia, more activity created in Australia… every step is ones that creates jobs. This is really where we have to take the conversation in Australia,” the Shadow Minister said.

One Stop’s Sydney warehouse, currently the biggest 100% solar distribution warehouse in Australia, is actually located in Bowen’s electorate. “I didn’t realised the biggest solar distributor was here in my electorate – it’s very good news,” he said.

Bowen gets up close with Sunman’s eArc panel, which is super lightweight (6kg) and glassless, which gives it flexibility and allows it to be installed on a wide range of surfaces and even walls. 

Bella Peacock

Coming from a background in finance, having served as the Shadow Treasurer from 2013 to 2019, Bowen’s focus is definitively on the economic potential of growing Australia’s renewables industry.

“In the regions, areas which traditionally make energy in other ways, there are great solar farm and wind turbine opportunities. We need to do more of it,” he said.

Wayne Smith from the Smart Energy Council was also on the One Stop Warehouse tour and told pv magazine Australia that his team have had a number of meetings with Bowen since his appointment little over four weeks ago.

Bowen also recently visited Solar Power Nation’s Sydney warehouse, and plans to visit Victoria and Queensland in the coming weeks to familiarise himself with the renewable companies and projects there.

Labor state-governments, including the McGowan government in Western Australia, Palaszczuk in Queensland, and Andrews in Victoria – as well as Liberal-run governments in New South Wales and South Australia – have all put renewables front and centre of Covid recovery plans. The successful formula seems to be one Bowen plans to emulate.

As numerous industries have ground to a devastating halt because of the global pandemic, renewables not only came out of 2020 unscathed, but are positively booming. Figures from the Clean Energy Regulator in January revealed Australia made new records in renewable capacity in 2020, adding 2.6 GW of rooftop PV.

Likewise, One Stop Warehouse sold 600 MW of solar products in 2020. The company’s Co-Founder and CEO, Anson Zhang, also owns Discover Energy, an energy retailer, which added 10,000 new customers in the last year. Bowen said Zhang’s companies’ growth displays the potential for renewables to not only create regional jobs, but suburban ones too.

As Australia’s largest business-to-business solar distributor, One Stop Warehouse told pv magazine Australia residential solar accounted for about 60% of its business, where 40% was driven by commercial projects.

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