Solar Message Spreads Across Suburbia

Once considered the domain of ‘wealthy greenies’, solar power is fast becoming the power system of choice for the average Aussie home.

According to a new report from Roy Morgan Research, the number of Australians with solar panels has more than doubled in the past three years, from 7.5% in March 2011 to 16% (that’s more than 3 million people) by the end of 2013.

And much of the latest growth has been amongst retirees and residents of outer suburbs.

Even reductions to feed-in tariffs have not stopped nationwide demand for solar power installation. According to Darren Gladman, policy manager with the Clean Energy Council, the main motivations for switching to solar are return on investment and skyrocketing power bills.

With the cost of solar panels plummeting over the past four years, return on investment is better than ever. Remember, just a few years ago a solar system would have cost as much as a small car, while now you can purchase a quality system for about the same price as a big screen TV.

Regardless of whether you sell electricity back to the grid or not, today's average-sized solar systems are cheap enough to pay for themselves in around six years.

And as more and more Australian homes fall victim to the dreaded bill shock – residential electricity prices rose an average of 14% in 2013 – the energy savings benefits of solar power are becoming even more attractive.

And far from being an indulgence of the middle class, many of those now signing up for solar panels are retirees and others on a tight budget who are drawn to the idea of controlling their energy costs.



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