Survey shows clean technology is alleviating bill pain

Couple Marek and Bozena stand below their rooftop solar system (survey)
Marek and Bozena with their rooftop solar system

A new survey by Solar Citizens says rooftop solar is helping Australians drive down their electricity bills, with 42 per cent of solar owners saying they save more than 70 per cent off their electricity bills or are usually in credit.

The nation-wide survey of 1,700 Australians showed a further 20 per cent of people surveyed are saving more than 50 per cent off their electricity bills. 

The survey found households without solar were much more likely to be significantly concerned about rising electricity prices than those with solar.

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“At the moment high global coal and gas prices are driving power bills through the roof. The only guaranteed way for households to shield themselves and bring down their electricity bills is to generate their own power,” Solar Citizens deputy director Stephanie Gray said.

“In response to high prices, state and federal energy ministers are discussing the possibility of introducing new fossil fuel subsidies via a capacity mechanism. This is absolutely the opposite of what’s required because the only time we’re seeing lower wholesale power prices is during the day when there’s abundant solar operating.

“We’d like to see the government implement a Renewable Energy Storage Target to help more households utilise their cheap solar energy around the clock. This would be good news for the grid and help bring down prices for everyone.”

A significant 84 per cent of solar owners surveyed who currently don’t have a battery are looking to purchase one in the next three years. Cost of battery storage is still seen as a major barrier, but for the largest share of those polled (26 per cent) a government subsidy of at least $3,000-$4,000 would be enough to get them over the line to purchase a battery.

“With the energy chaos of the past few months, it’s no surprise that households are looking for the savings and security offered by storage in their homes,” Gray said.

“We’re also hearing that many people are looking to electrify their household and get off the gas network to untie themselves from spiralling gas prices.”

A staggering 41 per cent of those surveyed who had gas in their households said they would definitely switch to electric alternatives with a government subsidy.

Marek and his mother Bozena live in the Ipswich Council region and have a 5.5kW solar system. After installing solar, they made the move off gas to all electric appliances.

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“We are very happy with the solar system. We had zero bills for the first 2-3 years, until the energy provider we were with changed pricing and decreased the feed-in tariff,” Marek said.

“We have saved about $100 a month by moving off gas and going fully electric. The best savings are from not having to pay the gas bills.”

“In the future we want to install batteries so we can be independent. Like when we had the floods. We were lucky that the water only came to the door but we didn’t have any electricity,” Bozena said.

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