Sun shines on home­own­ers

So­lar pop­u­lar with savvy res­i­dents

Sunshine Coast Daily - - NEWS - AM­BER HOOKER Am­[email protected]­news.com.au

THE Sun­shine Coast is liv­ing up to its name, with one savvy sub­urb fourth in the coun­try for the num­ber of house­holds with rooftop so­lar in­stal­la­tions.

Al­most 10,000 Caloundra homes are sav­ing a com­bined av­er­age of more than $500,000 on an­nual elec­tric­ity bills, ac­cord­ing to the Clean En­ergy Coun­cil.

Three other Sun­shine Coast post­codes were in­side the top 100, with “as­set-rich, cash­poor” re­tirees be­lieved to be the driv­ing force be­hind the up­take.

Bud­erim came in 23rd with 6767 sys­tems in­stalled, Nam­bour was 38th with 5388 sys­tems, and Warana was 79th with 4084.

Coolum clocked in at 102nd. Clean En­ergy Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Kane Thorn­ton said those with so­lar in­stalled saved an av­er­age $540 a year on elec­tric­ity bills and it had grown quickly by word of mouth as a way to cut costs.

“Re­tirees on the Sun­shine Coast are also a big mar­ket for so­lar, be­cause they are as­set­rich and cash-poor,” Mr Thorn­ton said.

“Se­niors find it ap­peal­ing to in­vest in as­sets which re­duce their out­go­ing ex­penses, and so­lar works per­fectly for that.

“It’s all in the name – peo­ple on the Sun­shine Coast in­tu­itively un­der­stand the power of the sun, and so­lar power is be­com­ing as com­mon as a bar­be­cue or a Hills Hoist.

“If you’re a surfer, a life­saver or just some­one who likes go­ing to the beach, a so­lar power sys­tem makes per­fect sense as a so­lu­tion to the prob­lem of ris­ing power bills. And be­cause many peo­ple are both pas­sion­ate about so­lar power and stressed about the cost of elec­tric­ity, you start hear­ing about it from friends and rel­a­tives.”

Mr Thorn­ton said rooftop so­lar acted like a “mini power sta­tion” help­ing to re­duce strain on the elec­tric­ity grid when it was most needed, es­pe­cially dur­ing hot weather when air­con­di­tion­ers were blast­ing.

The Clean En­ergy Reg­u­la­tor’s lat­est data re­veals Queens­land has the most num­ber of so­lar sys­tems – 529,425 – with 30 per cent of homes boast­ing so­lar.

‘‘ RE­TIREES ON THE SUN­SHINE COAST ARE ALSO A BIG MAR­KET FOR SO­LAR, BE­CAUSE THEY ARE AS­SET-RICH AND CASH-POOR.

KANE THORN­TON

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