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Nine out of 10 Australian households consider switch to solar

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Worthy Farm To Install UK's Largest Private Solar Panel SystemNine out of 10 Australians have considered, or would consider, switching to solar energy as a way to cut their power bills, a new survey has found.

The survey, conducted by Ernst & Young, found that money was the key driver for 70 per cent of those people who had already installed solar, while the cost of installation remained the main reason why those households considering rooftop PV had not yet installed it (50%).

The results of the survey, released on Tuesday, found that participants – 649 electricity retail customers across regional and metro Victoria, NSW and Queensland – were increasingly looking for ways to cut soaring energy bills, which one in 10 respondents named as their top ‘stressor’.

It found that nearly one in three Australians had missed a payment on an electricity bill in the past 12 months, while more than one in 10 have missed more than three payments.

The proportion of customers often or occasionally worried about being able to pay their electricity bill has remained consistently high at 70% since the last survey in 2013.

EY says the 2014 findings highlight the extent to which rising electricity prices are contributing to hardship for Australians, with ‘unable to afford bill payment’ the single biggest reason for not paying (60%).

The report comes as Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, who has been a vocal opponent of wind energy, came out in support of small-scale solar, and suggested this was a position shared by the majority of the federal Coalition, too.

“Rooftop solar is something that Coalition MPs won’t touch,” Xenophon said last week.  “If anything, I want to see it expanded.”

The South Australian independent – who has stayed quiet on the Abbott government’s proposed RET changes – has expressed interest in pursuing the idea of tax rebates for low income households to help them overcome the cost of installation.

Australia’s uptake of solar PV has soared from about 1,000 installations/year a decade ago to nearly 200,000 last year, with 1.2 million installed across Australia since 2001.  

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  • Zvyozdochka

    Americans will need to see addressing climate change as some sort of competition they can join-in. Not sure about the rest of us.

  • John McKeon

    I couldn’t help noticing an appeal to ‘greed is good’ in the ‘Carbon Nation’ film clip. Well, if it works for social/political ‘conservatives’, good. In the mean time the rest of us tree hugging REAL Conservatives can feel that at long last the political battle is swinging in favour of a safer climate for future generations.

  • I think the notion of ‘conservative’ has become ideological gobbledygook. It can mean so many things. I mean one can be a conservative in the status quo sense, but be running a very disruptively radical agenda, which is what the neo-con oligarchs are doing. They are more like revolutionary apparatchiks running a golden gulag called the consumer society, that gobbles everything in its path; software, hardware, bioware…everything.

    On the face of it, one would think environmentalism ought to be a conservative cause celebre; you know, conserving.

    The fact that the left took up with environmentalism because the class struggle was going nowhere and it was and is an excellent stick to beat capitalism with, is a quirk of 1970s history. There is no discernible logical connection between the left, homosexual rights, social justice, world peace and environmentalism. None!

    If one thinks consequentially to the sixth generation of one’s successors when designing policy, that is conservative. Sustainability in all things is the most conservative idea I can think of. Living within your environmental means is as conservative as it gets. Living and investing as if we can keep borrowing ecological resources ad infinitum, as if tomorrow will never come, is extremist-radical-fruitcake–pathological-nutso-lemmingism!

    So, conservative….What are we talking about here?

  • Terry J Wall

    Spot on Sam, thank you for that. A much needed explanation for the current level of cognitive dissonance.

    It is same for health: why in hell do the vast majority think that our best bet for well being and longevity should be put in the hands of people who make a living out of us being getting sick?

  • juxx0r

    What a flipping idiot is Senator Xenophon. If had half a clue about his own electorate he’d know that wind turbines have reduced the electricity bills within his electorate more than any other factor.

  • Miles Harding

    The fact that 70% of the respondents worry about their electricity bills should be telling us something about the level of education and propensity to make poor decisions around energy use.

    I see consumer behavior as the root issue and adding rooftop PV does little to address profligate (energy) consumption.
    Consumption now means “consuming ‘stuff’ with little or no appreciation of the consequences”. In this case it’s not the external environment (like landfill), but the consumer’s own wallet that suffers as a result of their lack of thought earlier.

    This sort of study would be greatly enhanced by also gathering some life choice information to assess how well linked other decisions, such as smoking, drinking and inappropriate housing or vehicle choice are to financial stress around electricity.
    I suspect that these exist as a package.