Nine out of 10 Australian households consider switch to solar

RenewEconomy

Nine 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% 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, New South Wales 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.

Source: RenewEconomy. Reproduced with permission.