Rooftop solar saving homeowners billions of dollars

New research reveals Australians with rooftop solar panels have collectively saved $4.4 billion in household bills since FY 2007/08, and almost a billion dollars every year for the past three years.

Solar Citizens’ latest State Of Solar report estimates the typical solar household saved $653 on its electricity bill in 2014-15.

Australians have already installed 23.2 million solar PV panels – the equivalent of one panel for every man, woman and child – with Solar Citizens national director Clare O’Rourke labelling the pace of solar uptake “phenomenal”.

“In less than a decade, 1.5 million Australian households and small businesses have invested more than $8 billion of their own money into rooftop solar PV electricity generation. This disruption to the traditional electricity sector has created tens of thousands of jobs, saved over $4.4 billion in household energy bills and averted millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution – setting the stage for a transition to a more democratic and sustainable energy future,” she said.

“There’s now a solar PV generator on 16.5 per cent of all households. In some postcodes, more than 60 per cent of household roofs are adorned with solar panels.”

Highlighting the cost of supporting coal-fired power, the report said political leaders have failed to follow the lead of Australians who are investing in long-term solar technology.

“This report is designed to remind our political leaders of just how much Australians love their solar and have invested in it. For those who would wish to represent us, it’s time they realised that the future is

solar powered,” Ms O’Rourke said.

One in five Australians of voting age are living in a solar-powered home. A recent poll suggested 64 per cent of Australians would be more likely to vote for a party with plans to source 100 per cent of Australia’s energy from renewables.

Grey number one for solar across Australia

Property owners in the electorate of Grey, South Australia, are leading the way it rooftop solar installations.

According to the Solar Citizens Solar Scorecard, 40,956 voters in the Grey electorate use solar power, saving 53,659 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2016 so far.

But the independent, community-based organisation is pushing for stronger renewable energy policy and is calling on all parties and candidates in next month’s federal election to commit to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2030.

Eyre Peninsula Solar Citizens team coordinators Nel Taylor and Ross Kassebaum. Image by Port Lincoln Times
Eyre Peninsula Solar Citizens team coordinators Nel Taylor and Ross Kassebaum. Image by Port Lincoln Times

Eyre Peninsula Solar Citizens team coordinators Nel Taylor and Ross Kassebaum are among those campaigning for strong renewable energy policy, a ‘robust’ Clean Energy Finance Corporation, funding for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, an energy market review, and a roll out of solar power on Housing SA homes to benefit people on low incomes.

Ms Taylor said the electorate’s record as number one in Australia with rooftop solar showed the people of Grey wanted renewable energy.

She said Solar Citizens did not support any particular political party and wanted all parties to embrace strong renewable energy policies.

“Solar Citizens here, in Adelaide and Australia wide are door knocking, letter writing, attending political meetings, holding stalls and talking to media to get this message out to voters.”

Mr Kassebaum said there was a possibility of a wind power station on western Eyre Peninsula that could provide four times the amount of power produced by the former Port Augusta power station and, with other South Australian wind farms, could supply enough power for South Australia and some Victorian users. However, a new transmission line would be needed.

“With the right infrastructure in place South Australia could be a major supplier of clean energy,” he said.

“By 2020 we need four times the renewable energy we have got today just to meet our targets.”