Copy of Low to medium income households are the biggest solar investors in Australia
Recent studies have found that lower to middle income households are more likely to have solar than higher income Australians.
The Victoria Energy Policy Centre analysed electricity bills of 10,051 households which had been provided by CHOICE, with a fifth having solar power in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria. Socio-economic data and house prices gained from Domain.com.au were then used to profile the owners.
Having been commissioned by Solar Citizens, the national director believes this discrepancy in the study is simply due to Australians wanting to take back control of their household energy.
“People are reaching for ways to get control over their energy costs and for millions of low-and middle-income households, solar is the best way to do that,” Solar Citizens’ national director Joseph Scales said.
As a result of this, far more lower and middle income homeowners have invested in solar in comparison to higher income households.
Victoria Energy Policy Centre director Bruce Mountain said the potential for heritage restrictions, heavily treed yards shading panels and a lower responsiveness to rising prices can all be factors contributing to why wealthy Australians are lagging in national solar uptake.
Due to these factors,Professor Mountain explains that installing solar energy is “not at the top of their list”.
Yet comparing this to the lower to middle income earners, skyrocketing power bills have made solar power overly attractive for these households, especially with the growing quality and efficiency of solar panels and their ever-declining prices.
“For most people if you have a north-facing roof in any of our cities, solar will pay for itself in five years or less,” he said.
With solar energy experiencing an unprecedented era of prosperity, this study has been released in the wake of rooftop solar capacity increasing 43 per cent last year to break solar installation records.
In terms of large-scale energy projects, new utility-scale solar farms tripled to about 3775 megawatts for 2018.
Additionally, the average household who currently has solar will be purchasing 9 per cent less grid-fed electricity, but are seen to consume around a quarter more power than the properties without panels.
Yet more often than not, this contrast is due to homes with solar energy are properties likely to draw the greatest benefit from solar energy (and generally within about 10 kilometres of the city).
“In terms of uptake, it’s actually pleasingly rational,” Professor Mountain said. “The people who are economically the people to be getting the greatest benefit from it, appear to be installing it in the greatest numbers.”
According to the study, solar homes exporting power back to the grid are acting as an energy bill subsidy for homes without solar.
“Around one third of households in all states sell their electricity to their retailers at a rate that is lower than it would cost their retailers to buy that electricity in the spot markets,” the report found.
“Retailers profit from this to the extent that they do not pass this on to other customers in lower prices.”
But, Professor Mountain continues to believe the solar benefits are being blunted by elevated fixed charges, with the study even explaining, ‘the fixed component of retail residential offers in Australia “are higher than in any other country as far as we know”.’
“Governments should clamp down on standing charges,” Professor Mountain said.
Is solar the solution for you?
As the cost of solar continues to drop but retail electricity bills remain as high as ever, it does not come as a surprise that more Australians are beginning to invest in the renewable energy saving technology.
As the majority of Australia’s population is consisted of in the median household income range, investing in solar energy will dramatically reduce the huge cost burden of grid electricity prices.
If solar is an option for you, the Energy division at AICA have the experience, knowledge and expertise to help you get off the grid today.
With over a decade of experience and having completed more than 10,000 installations across WA, AICA’s trusted name will make your change to renewable, solar energy as easy and as simple as possible.
To find out how we can do for you and secure your free consultation and energy assessment, call us now on 1800 242 228.