Solar PV being embraced by ordinary Australians18th Jan 2013
Solar photovoltaic systems aren't just the domain of the rich and well-off.
That's what figures released by Synergy about WA solar power seem to indicate, according to the West Australian.
Instead, blue-collar suburbs and those with large populations of aging baby boomers appear to be the biggest drivers of the solar surge.
Electricity retailer Synergy released information showing where solar panel penetration was the greatest in WA, as the number of rooftop installations in Perth and the south west passed the milestone figure of 100,000.
Working class Canning Vale was the top suburb, with 2,239 residents owning a solar panel system as at December 19.
Next in line were Thornlie (1,513), Baldivis (1,376), Willetton (1299) and Ellenbrook (1198). Out of the top 20 biggest suburbs for solar, none were in affluent or inner-city areas.
Ian Milne, co-runner of a Perth solar company, told the West Australian that the figures did not come as a surprise to him.
He said that groups more sensitive to power bill increases - such as the retired or retiring and middle to lower-income households - were driving demand for solar.
"They see the power bill as a long-term risk to their income or savings and so it is self-protection on that impost that influences them," Mr Milne said.
WA residents with renewable energy systems can sell back excess energy to retailers under the state's Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme.
These figures illustrate that installing solar panels isn't merely for those hoping to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a better environment - it's actually a practical way to save money.
If the argument against climate change does not gain traction anytime soon, the future of solar power expansion may require more statistics like these - ones that argue for the practical economic benefits of renewable energy systems.
Posted by Mike Peacock