Australian appetite for solar keeps growing

Sustainable solutions continue to attract Australians hoping to avoid rising energy prices, with solar power becoming particularly popular.

New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed one-fifth of households have turned to solar panels or solar hot water heating – up from just 5 per cent in 2011.

The ABS' Karen Connaughton said 14 per cent of homes are fitted with panels, while heated water systems can be found at 19 per cent of properties. In many cases, the generated power helps to run energy-hungry air-conditioning units. 

"As you might expect in sunny Australia, three-quarters of Australian households use some form of cooling," she explained.

"Just under half [choose] reverse cycle air conditioning and the remainder mostly split between refrigerated air conditioning and evaporative coolers."

The figures indicate Australia's solar industry is still going strong, with public backing for sustainable energy driving demand.

On December 2, the WWF revealed that 80 per cent of Australians support rooftop solar power systems, while 70 per cent agree with embarking on large-scale solar construction projects.

WWF-Australia National Manager for Climate Change Kellie Caught said: "Powering Australia with clean renewable energy, like solar and wind power, is the right thing to do for our health, our economy and our planet."

She also argued against making changes to the country's Renewable Energy Target, which aims to generate 20 per cent of the nation's power through renewable sources by 2020.

The federal government has proposed cuts to the initiative since coming into power, a move that could have a significant impact on sustainable product manufacturers in Australia and the wider Asia-Pacific region.

Ms Caught said reducing the target will result in lost jobs and investment across the energy efficiency industry. There would also be a significant rise in carbon pollution.

"Aussies deserve cleaner air and less pollution. They want their children to enjoy Australia's environment just as they did," she concluded.

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