Working class suburbs leading rooftop solar uptake

More than 3GW of solar power has been installed on Australian rooftops, which the Clean Energy Council (CEC) acknowledges is enough energy to run Melbourne’s entire train network for more than a decade.

CEC chief executive officer David Green said consumers are increasingly looking to solar power as a way to control their energy bills.

“And it helps to reduce the cost of our entire energy system on hot days when people everywhere have turned on their air-conditioners. It has started to change the way we look at energy,” he said.

Analysis released by specialist solar consultancy Sunwiz suggests more than 1.15 million Australian households have installed rooftop solar, with Queensland the national leader.

Approximately 360,000 Queensland homes now have solar power, with New South Wales the next best with 252,000 homes.

According to figures from the Clean Energy Regulator, the 3GW of solar power installed will produce more than 4000 gigawatt-hours in the next 12 months.

Mr Green said working class suburbs and regional areas had led the charge to go solar, rather than the affluent areas of the major cities.

“Some state governments initially provided generous support to encourage people to go solar, but these programs have all been scaled back as the cost of systems has fallen over the last five years,” he said.

“Currently the only support comes from the Renewable Energy Target scheme, which helps to make solar power more affordable and reduce its up-front cost for working families.”