Solar and other alternative energy sources gain ground in Vic

Thursday, 09 August, 2018

Solar and other alternative energy sources gain ground in Vic

Victorian consumers are showing an increasing interest in adding alternative energy sources to their lives — with solar power very much at the head of the pack.

According to a new survey conducted by market research company ReachTEL and released by Equifax, around one-third of Victorian home owners currently use solar panels to generate power in their homes, with solar panel usage higher in mid- to lower-density and regional areas (44%). Of those taking up solar panels, households with children are up to 50% more likely to adopt this method of power supply.

The uptake of battery storage, on the other hand, is not yet common in the state. Close to 90% of respondents with solar panels said they don’t have batteries to capture their solar energy, citing the high cost associated (63%) and lack of information on the products (21%) as the key barriers. However, those who are likely to install batteries are 85% more likely to be driven young professionals and 42% more likely to live in high-density dwellings.

“While battery storage doesn’t currently offer the return on investment to make it worthwhile to price-conscious families, it seems the appeal is growing,” said Thomas Macaulay, Head of Utilities Segment at Equifax.

“Despite the current low penetration, we expect the uptake of battery storage amongst solar panel owners to grow considerably and become a strong market over the next few years as prices drop. Our research showed that almost half (48.8%) of solar panel owners are likely or very likely to install batteries in the next three years, meaning an additional 269,000 homes in Victoria alone could have battery storage by 2021.”

In addition to being open to alternative energy, Victorians are proving to be cost-savvy, with 80% of consumers willing to share renewable energy if they see the savings. This is no surprise to Katherine McConnell, founder and CEO of Brighte, which offers on-the-spot finance for energy innovations like solar and batteries.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of Australians interested in adding alternative energy upgrades to their home since our inception in 2015, and we don’t expect this trend to slow anytime soon,” McConnell said.

“The energy sector is primed for disruption from new product innovations, and the demand is real. Australians are ahead of the world with solar uptake and have a strong drive to control energy costs — both through producing their own energy and sharing it in return for cost savings on their bills.”

One new energy option that has experienced limited take-up to date is electric cars, with only 3% of Victorians currently owning an electric car. However, even with a limited offering at hand and the high cost associated, 31% of people say they would be likely to consider a fully electric car if they were to purchase a vehicle in the next three years.

“It’s clear that Victorians are looking to be more energy conscious with their household power sources, and there is huge potential for growth in the distributed energy market with interest and demand expected to increase rapidly over the coming years,” Macaulay said. “For vendors in this space to flourish as the sector changes, it’s important to research and understand the different segments, as well offering tailored, cost-effective packages.”

Image credit: ©

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