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Solar panels no longer a rich person's plaything

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Uptake of residential solar panels is steadily increasing among lower-income earners in Queensland. We explain why solar technology is more accessible than ever, and why it should no longer be considered a premium product. 

You may be forgiven for thinking that solar photovoltaic (solar PV) technology was just for cashed-up greenies, that renewable energy was just a source of political wrangling or a term bandied around in ostentatious Oscar speeches. You may be forgiven for thinking that solar technology was just out of reach for the average Aussie; too expensive, too complex and just too hard. Forget about it.

In a bygone age there was good reason to believe this narrative, to consider solar a premium product, accessible only to those ‘in-the-know’. Information fed to Australian consumers about renewable technologies has been text-heavy and laden with jargon, alienating the average punter and inflating the egos of environmental science graduates nationwide. Moreover, renewable energy has typically retailed at a price 15-24% higher than energy derived from non-renewable sources. Now to the good news.

 

30% price drop

Although renewables may once have been the domain of the well-off, solar PV system pricing trends show that it’s becoming more and more accessible. According to Solar Choice data, the cost of an average residential solar PV system fell by 25-30% between 2012-2016. Since then we've seen prices plunge further to around $1.20 per Watt, fully installed. Things have never been this good for solar.

 

Game changed 

A recent study conducted by the Queensland University of Technology has confirmed that price conscious Australians are responding to this greater affordability. Their five-year analysis of more than 2 million residents in south-east Queensland tells us that solar uptake in many postcodes with lower levels of tertiary education and income was double that of many postcodes with high levels of both.

The game has changed. Neither income nor education were identified as significant explanatory variables. In fact, the five lowest socio-economic postcodes studied had similar solar uptake rates to the five highest. The numbers are in, and solar power isn’t the plaything of wealthy suburbanites, squabbling politicians or tech-heads. It’s for all Australians.

 

Feed-in tariffs on the rise

Generous feed-in tariffs are a means of incentivising solar uptake by making it more affordable. With most energy retailers offering feed-in tariffs that hover around 6 or 7 cents, the market-leading 10 cents offered by Energy Locals sends a clear message; we want to see the game changed. We don’t do this just to reward those who have already made the investment: we do it to make it easier for more people to be able to afford solar and get a short payback on their investment. 

We’ll also provide transparent information and straightforward advice without the technical mumbo-jumbo, helping Australians capture savings where they can. No misleading discounts and no messy lock-in contracts that only a lawyer can decode.

This is about energy for everyone. Join us to bring power back to the people.

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