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One-quarter of Australian homes now have solar

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One Step Off The Grid

New data has confirmed the effects of a second rooftop solar boom taking place around Australia – driven by falling technology costs and increasingly volatile electricity prices – with nearly one quarter of all Australian households found to have invested in solar panels.

unnamed(1) copyThe survey, published by Roy Morgan on Thursday, shows that on average almost one in four Australian households (23.2 per cent) own a “Home Solar Electric Panel”, as at March 2017. Uptake is shown to be strongest in South Australia, at 32.8 per cent; then Queensland, at 30.2 per cent; and Western Australia, at 26.6 per cent.

The numbers are in keeping with the findings of May 2017 data from SunWiz, which suggested Australian households – and businesses – were installing rooftop solar PV at a rate not seen since 2012.

In its May 2017 report, SunWiz said that a total of 5.7GW of rooftop PV had been installed on 1.7 million households and businesses at the end of May, capping off a record first five months of installs in any year in Australia’s history.

And in Western Australia – as we reported here – the residential PV uptake has resulted in a dramatic reduction in both the scale and the timing of peak demand in the state, reducing peak demand by 265MW, or 7.2 per cent in the last summer.

But solar take-up has been lower for households in New South Wales and Victoria, the Roy Morgan report shows, with 17.7 per cent and 21 per cent of households investing in PV in those states, respectively.

Tasmania, meanwhile, has nearly as high solar penetration as NSW, with 17.3 per cent of households owning PV panels.

Interestingly, the Roy Morgan research seems to suggest that this rate up uptake will slow over the coming 12 months, with only 1 per cent (94,000) of Australian households claiming to have plans to buy or replace their solar panels in the next year.

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, which focuses on customer experience with distributed generation. To sign up to One Step’s free weekly newsletter, please click here.  

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  • WR

    The 2016 census data shows that 65.5% of houses are occupied by the owner. I doubt that too many rental properties have solar, so the number of homeowners who have solar must be about 23/65 = 35%.

    • Brunel

      Houses or apartments?

      • WR

        both – 65% of households

    • JohnM

      Incidentally, I put 5.5kw of solar on my rental and charged the tenants an extra $50 per month. They were quite happy about that, or I wouldn’t have done it.
      It’s an extra $650p/a for me, which pays back over 10 years, but also increases the saleability of the house. More landlords should consider this, especially for commercial premises. But you can see common sense twinkling down the tunnel somewhere…

      • Mike Westerman

        I think there should be an element of compulsion in this: if tenants ask for it to go on, they should be able to make a claim if prevented. Savings should be split so as you are doing, you can cover a nominate IRR.

  • Phil

    I’m surprised they rarely include INDUSTRY and GOVERNMENTS alongside these figures as a comparison. I.E warehouse , retail , education , manufacturing premises.

    We live in a Tripartite world of Industry , Government and Consumer , yet they are seen as Tribal or separate in what they do even though they all rely on each other to operate.

  • Andrea

    This is very different from figures provided by Clean Energy Regulator, which say it is 17%. Perhaps respondents are confusing solar PV and solar hot water?

    • WR

      Yes, it’s hard to reconcile all the figures.

      From the Clean Energy Regulator, there are:

      1.7 million small-scale PV systems with a rated output of 5.74 GW.

      From the the 2016 census data, there are 8 million occupied dwellings consisting of:

      6 million separate houses
      1 million semi-detached, row, or terrace houses
      1 million flats or units.

      65.5% of the occupied dwellings are owner-occupied.

      There are another 1 million unoccupied private dwellings.

      Dividing the number of systems by the number of occupied dwellings gives 1.7/8 = 21%. That value is pretty close to the 23% survey result.

      • Andrea

        Census data says 9,901,496 dwellings. Where are you getting your data from?
        As to excluding unoccupied dwellings – I think this is questionable. I understand a typical figure for unoccupied dwellings is around 5%

        • WR
          • Andrea

            That site says 9,901,496 dwellings with 8,286,073 occupied, 1,039,874 unoccupied (and 575,000 missing!). Many of the unoccupied ones may also be due to people away and rental vacancies. (The estimate in article I linked to above suggests 300,000 unoccupied.) Now at least 150,000 new homes would have been built since the census. So let’s say 9,700,000 occupied homes, and 1.75 millon solar PV systems (adding a few extra from CER figures to account for registration delays). That makes it 18%.

  • C’est la même

    These estimates “one in four” seem wildly inaccurate.

    Sampling bias I presume.

  • Travis

    We would love to have solar panels on our house, but don’t have the cash free. We could easily afford a reasonable repayment from our fortnightly pension through the CentrePay system. The Federal Government could have given home owners like us a low interest loan to put solar panels on our house. Would have been better money spent than $30M to pay TV over four years to broadcast niche and womens sport, and kept the $30M of borrowed money circulating in an ongoing scheme. I have a shed roof facing due north at 27.5 degrees ideal for 5kW of solar and would be delighted to have 2.5kW
    https://theconversation.com/anti-siphoning-changes-a-blow-to-sports-fans-who-want-to-watch-on-free-to-air-tv-78666

    • Mike Westerman

      Travis – Google “solar as a service” – you will find a range of providers who will install your solar for free and charge you part of your savings until it is paid back. Of course the pay back period is much longer this way, as you are splitting the savings, but still worthwhile.

  • All this causes inequality (energy poverty) for age pensioners and the disabled renting a house. Is something going to be done about this problem.?

    • Mike Westerman

      Should be Harry – write your pollie suggesting a) pensioners have access to scheme to let them put in solar at zero lending cost paid back over generous term with residual coming out of estate and b) compelling landlords to put in solar where tenants request it, with sharing of benefit and reasonable payback period for landlord including rebates

      • Getting a landlord to invest, you can’t even get them to pay for fixing a leaking water tap. Are you for real.

        • Mike Westerman

          Yep – when I did my thesis on PV almost 40y ago people said we were dreaming that one day PV would be so cheap everyone would power their house with it…you can either weep about it, or try and change it