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Community Attitudes to Rooftop Solar and the AEMC’s Proposed Reforms

Almost 3 million households across Australia have fitted their rooftops with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Together, they have created one of the largest electricity generators in the country with solar power accounting for 9.9% (or 22.5 TWh) of Australia’s total electrical energy production in 2020. This growth is positive in many ways but it does create challenges in keeping the electricity system running securely, especially during times when there is plentiful solar energy being produced and exported but relatively little energy consumed.

In response, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) is considering rule changes that are designed to enable growth in electricity exports from rooftop solar panels, allowing more Australians to share in the economic and environmental benefits. There has been some opposition to these proposed changes, so in order to create a clear, credible and independent evidence base, we commissioned this research to find out how the Australian community really feel.

The Community Attitudes to Rooftop Solar and the AEMC’s Proposed Reforms research report shows majority support for the changes with more than two thirds (69%) of Australians feeling positive about the proposed reforms and only 6% viewing them negatively.

Existing solar customers were also supportive, with 68% of those who already have rooftop solar greeting the proposed changes positively, 11% regarding them negatively and 21% ambivalent.

The study, carried out by research firm Newgate, involved 8 focus groups with existing solar customers and those considering solar in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia as well as an online survey taken by more than 2000 respondents. Of the participants in the survey 1,200 were a representative national sample which was supplemented by an additional 800 participants with solar.

The original survey was published in July. We took the opportunity to re-run the survey in August and the updated results of that work are attached in the related resources section of this page.

For more commentary on the report, please read our blog here.

Should you wish to reach out with any questions or comments on the report, please email us here.

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