New poll: Governments should help renters access affordable solar
15 December 2022 New poll: Governments should help renters access affordable solar
A significant 71 per cent of Australians agree the federal and state governments should do more to help renters and social housing tenants access affordable solar electricity, according to a new national poll.
The new data from a national poll of more than 2,000 people comes as the Federal Government is today voting on legislation to introduce temporary price caps on coal and gas to manage rising power bills. The poll was commissioned by Solar Citizens and conducted by uComms.
Seventy three per cent of people polled said they were concerned about affording their next electricity bill. New South Wales residents were the most likely to be concerned about affording their next electricity bill with 78 per cent saying they were concerned.
“Australia has more than three million rooftop solar installations because investing in solar is one of the best ways to protect yourself from spiralling electricity prices,” said Heidi Lee Douglas, National Director of Solar Citizens.
“Our electricity and gas prices are going through the roof because of the high global price of fossil fuels, but the good news is that in Australia we have great renewable energy resources so we can produce our own energy that doesn’t depend on overseas markets.
“The energy transition is an exciting opportunity to put the power back in the hands of the people, but we need to make sure that no one is left behind.
“Making sure cheap solar energy is accessible to everyone is especially important as temperatures rise during summer. Communities are already feeling the effects of climate change with more extreme heat and we need to make sure people can afford to use electricity to stay cool.”
In response to the cost of living pressures that are facing many New South Wales residents, more than 200 representatives from a wide range of communities and organisations recently gathered at an assembly in Parramatta with NSW Treasurer and Energy Minister Matt Kean and asked him to tackle the soaring cost of energy. The assembly was organised by the Sydney Alliance, a diverse coalition of 48 community, union, faith, charity, and not-for-profit organisations.
One of the assembly’s attendees was Sheik Adid Alrubai, who had to cut trips to see family in order to pay his energy bills.
“Every end-of-year holidays I normally go with my wife and son to visit family in Melbourne but this year we won’t go. Visiting family overseas is now some kind of dream,” he said.
“When I lived with my other son and there was solar on the roof, I could afford normal activities like normal families. But when I left for a rental with no solar, we had to sacrifice many important things such as reducing the amount of protein – meat and fish – we eat, from four days to two days a week.
Sh Adid Alrubai said the Federal Government’s move to place price caps on coal and gas was the first step on the right path. But he said the long-term solution to rising power bills was to give people on lower incomes and renters access to renewable energy.
Solar Citizens is calling for government support for solar on private rentals as well as social housing. Together with the Sydney Alliance, they’re also calling on the NSW Government to:
- Support households transition from gas to more efficient electric appliances.
- Invest in an energy hub to help communities access government schemes and get the best energy deals.
- Reconfirm their commitment to minimum energy efficiency standards for rentals.
Key poll findings:
Solar Citizens commissioned uComms to conduct a survey of 2084 residents across Australia during the evening of 29 November 2022 using self-completed automated voice polling methodologies. The results showed:
41% have solar.
73% of people are concerned or very concerned about affording their next electricity bill.
71% agree that state and federal governments should do more to help renters and people living in social housing access solar energy to help them manage their electricity costs.
48% would consider installing household solar or battery storage if they could access a government-provided no-interest loan.
31% would consider replacing gas appliances with electric if they could access a government-provided no-interest loan.
78% agree the federal government should expand the national rooftop solar subsidy to make it more affordable for Australians to also install household battery storage.