Energy survey reveals ‘staggering’ uptake in household solar

Solar panels being installed on a roof (energy survey)
Image: Shutterstock

The latest Queensland Household Energy Survey, likely the biggest of its kind in the state, has been released showing that household solar, battery storage and electric cars continue to grow in popularity. 

The survey of more than 4,300 Queenslanders, conducted for government-owned energy corporations in late 2020, shows a staggering 37 per cent of those polled have rooftop solar, which is up from 33 per cent in 2019. 

Households with solar PV reported electricity bills that were on average $600 less per year than households without solar. Given this, it’s not surprising that 22 per cent of those polled are either looking to install solar or upgrade their solar system in the next three years. 

Related article: Rooftop solar record broken in 2020

“Queensland’s thriving solar rollout is showing no signs of slowing down. Last year almost 90,000 solar systems were installed or upgraded across the state,” Solar Citizens energy strategist Stephanie Gray said.

While only 6 per cent of people currently have a household battery installed, 10 per cent said they wanted to install one within the next three years. Electric vehicles are a similar story, with only 3 per cent currently owning one but 35 per cent considering buying one within the next three years.

“This survey shows that there’s a real appetite in Queensland for battery storage and cleaner electric vehicles but cost remains a barrier to accessing these technologies,” Ms Gray said.

“This is where the state and federal governments can play a constructive role. By incentivising the rollout of battery storage and electric transport they can bring down the cost of clean technology to make it easier for more Australians to save money and do their bit for the environment.

“Governments played a key role in bringing down the cost of rooftop solar by incentivising uptake and now Australian homes and businesses are leading the world. It’s our great energy success story and we can do that again.”

The growing interest in cleaner technology comes as fewer people are concerned about electricity bills. Of those polled, 51 per cent said their level of concern about electricity bills was low while only 29 per cent said it was high. Average quarterly bills for Queenslanders fell from $345 in 2019 to $328. Eight per cent said that their electricity bills were actually credits due to an abundance of solar energy.

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Summary of the energy survey findings:

  • 37 per cent had solar, up from 33 per cent in 2019.
  • 6 per cent had battery storage and 3 per cent had an electric vehicle.
  • Average quarterly bill for a household with solar PV was $231, whereas it was $383 for a household without solar.
  • Surveying households with solar:
    • 12 per cent want battery storage in the next three years
    • 31 per cent are aware of community batteries and
    • 24 per cent would like to go off grid.
  • 22 per cent of the total respondents were either looking to install solar or upgrade their solar system in the next three years. 
  • Of the households with solar or that are planning to install solar, 60 per cent said they installed solar to save on their bills and 30 per cent wanted to do their bit for the environment.
  • 93 per cent of solar owners said they would replace their solar system if it were to fail with a system of the same size or bigger.
  • 70 per cent of solar owners take measures to shift more electricity use to the daytime when their solar system is producing electricity.
  • 34 per cent of the total respondents said they want to install battery storage at some point and 10 per cent said within the next three years. However, only 29 per cent of those respondents are willing to pay $15,000 or more so cost remains a barrier.
  • Only 23 per cent of respondents were familiar with community batteries but 22 per cent of people said they were interested in them.
  • 35 per cent of respondents are considering buying an electric vehicle in the next three years, however 53 per cent of people not considering an EV cited cost as a barrier. 

Full results are available here.