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Solar energy 'helping low-income households'

2nd Oct 2012

Preconceived notions that solar energy systems are merely for wealthy households have been refuted by an industry expert.

John Grimes, chief executive of the Australian Solar Council, said there is a prevailing myth that solar PV is predominantly an extravagance for the rich, but claimed this is simply not true.

And he has the research to back it up. The organisation released figures showing that just 43 per cent of the 1.5 million installations in the country are in urban areas.

Not only this, but people based in the wealthiest of city suburbs are actually the least likely to have solar PV panels fitted to their roofs.

Broken down, the stats showed that one-quarter of all rural homes are partly-powered by solar energy, while one-fifth of houses in regional centres can say the same.

While, on the other hand, only 13 per cent of city dwellings take advantage of solar energy.

"We always had anecdotal evidence from our installers that it wasn't wealthy barristers, doctors and inner-urban greenies putting in solar panels, but pensioners, retirees, single mothers and low-income earners trying to protect themselves against future electricity price rises," John stated.

According to the expert, the majority of solar power installations are for typical Australians who cannot afford electricity prices that have sky-rocketed 70 per cent in the last four years, with another 70 per cent hike thought to be around the corner in four more years.

"Working people in mortgage belts and regional Australia are struggling," he commented. "So they want to insulate themselves as much as they can."

Australians may not fully understand the technology they are buying, John explained, but they certainly recognise it is costing them less!

His remarks follow similar comments made by John Dee, founder of not-for-profit campaign organisation Do Something, who recently told the Courier-Mail that people are eagerly snapping up solar energy because it gives them more control over their bills.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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