Where does Australia – with its abundant solar resource and expanses of and suitable for wind farms – rank in the global renewable energy production stakes? The answer: 31st. Surprising? Well, it was to the majority of respondents to a new national survey on renewable energy, two-thirds of whom had assumed their country would be ranked better than that.
The survey of 1,283 Australians – commissioned by WWF-Australia for Earth Hour, conducted by AMR Research and released today – has found that 87% of Australians want more action by all sectors, including government, to make Australia a top-10 global producer of renewable energy.
Rather less surprisingly, the survey also found that the average Australian is, by and large, more positive about renewable energy than the nation’s politicians – believing that renewable energy should account for 27 per cent of Australia’s total energy mix by 2020, rather than the current national target of 20 per cent renewables by 2020.
Earth Hour, which every year calls on people around the globe to switch off all of their household’s electrical goods for one hour, is this year stepping up its campaign and calling for Australians to switch over to renewable energy.
Thanks to rocketing electricity bills, it’s a solution that requires less and less convincing; Australia is expected to reach the milestone of more than one million households with rooftop solar – up from more than 850,000 today – within months. And according to Earth Hour spokesperson Kellie Caught, the survey shows more than a million more are now considering making the switch.
The survey also found that the likelihood of a household installing rooftop solar significantly increased if the barrier of an up-front payment was removed. And with the recent arrival of $0 upfront ‘solar leasing’ products on the Australian market, WWF sees the potential for a new solar boom.
The removal of the upfront price barrier was found to be particularly important for women, with the percentage of female householders likely to install solar increasing by 22 per cent where there was $0 upfront payment.
“We expect to see solar energy continue to boom at the household level,” said Caught. “Within months we will have more than one million solar rooftops, and this polling shows that a further 1.5 million households would also consider joining them.”
Earth Hour this year falls on Saturday March 23, at 8.30pm AEDT.