Solar PV brightening up household bills

21st Jun 2013

The popularity of solar panels has certainly increased in recent years, and despite various state governments doing spectacular U-turns on their rebate schemes and funding policies, solar remains a powerful investment for many.

And so it's nice when research rewards this loyalty, and this week's release of the Central Victoria Solar City Trial (CVSC) results definitely does this, showing that solar panels provide a significant return for households.

The CVSC is just a small part of the federal government-led Solar Cities Program, which seeks to identify and overcome barriers to the take-up of energy efficiency measures.

Organised and run by various consortiums across the nation, the program provides guidance and advice to households following energy assessments.

And the Victoria version is the first to publish its results, which were based on a group that received energy efficiency recommendations and a control group that received no help.

The results

With the background out of the way, what were the actual results? Well, solar PV showed significant savings for households, cutting energy consumption by 13 per cent.

And this wasn't 13 per cent in gross savings, but 13 per cent above and beyond the control group only. Gross savings totalled 29 per cent!

According to Sustainable Regional Australia, one of the organisations involved in the delivery of the CVSC, the solar PV package was easily the most popular with consumers.

Of those that installed a solar PV system, 85 per cent expressed high levels of satisfaction, while perceptions of value and quality were 79 per cent and 73 per cent respectively.

Reasons for investment

The main reason people invested in a solar PV system was the prospect of saving – a staggering 93 per cent listed this as their priority.

However, others favoured the idea of self-sufficiency (73 per cent), while 71 per cent were keen to take advantage of government rebates.

Sustainable Regional Australia highlighted a number of differences between people who purchased solar PV during the trial and those who already had systems beforehand.

"Participants that bought a solar PV system through the program suggested stronger intentions to reduce energy use than those with an existing solar PV system," the organisation revealed.

"This indicates that the program’s solar PV package provided participants with a means to act on these intentions."

Posted by Mike Peacock

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