Rooftop solar can deliver $9.3 billion a year in cost savings for people living in apartments or houses with space for more panels - Solar Citizens

Rooftop solar can deliver $9.3 billion a year in cost savings for people living in apartments or houses with space for more panels

New data has today revealed a massive $9.3 billion per year in potential cost savings for Australians if people living in apartments or houses with more space for solar panels were supported to install more rooftop solar.

The new analysis commissioned by Solar Citizens and conducted by the Australian PV Institute at the University of NSW found:

  • There is 45.8 GW of unrealised potential solar energy on houses and apartments across Australia and 5.7 million households without solar;

  • Closing the solar potential gap would create  240,000 additional job-years of employment in the solar sales and installation industry, equivalent to employing 48,000 people for 5 years. 

  • It would deliver an average annual household bill savings of $1,390 each year continuing for the operational lifetime of the solar PV systems, usually 20 years or more.

  • The realisation of the economic and social benefits from closing the solar potential gap needs an estimated initial investment of $9.8 billion a year for 5 years across all building types and housing tenures. This investment would be returned in bill savings within an estimated 5.3 years and

  • If all the solar potential of all Australia’s houses were fully realised, approximately 726 Megatonnes (Mt) of CO2 emissions could be avoided over 20 years, and a further 59 (Mt) of CO2 emissions avoided by deploying solar on all apartment buildings. 

Joel Pringle, National Campaigns Director at Solar Citizens said, “Australian households struggling with rising costs of living have the potential for more than $9 billion in energy bill savings sitting right now in untapped rooftop solar potential.

“That’s 9 billion good reasons for the Albanese Government to make a significant investment in supporting more rooftop solar for households, people living in apartments and social housing and renters in the upcoming Federal Budget.

“Unlocking this solar potential can return money to people’s pockets, deliver 785 Megatonnes in avoided carbon emissions over 20 years and the up-front investment is repaid in bill savings for households within about 5 years.

“Cleaner, cheaper rooftop solar energy is a win for both energy bill relief and reducing climate pollution. One in three Australian homes has now gone solar, we need greater government support to ensure the financial and health benefits are extended to all Australian households,” he said.

Dr Mike Roberts, Senior Research Fellow in the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering at UNSW said, “Our analysis found the power of solar can deliver an average annual household bill savings of $1,390 each year. There will be many households across the nation who have the potential to save even more on their power bills with rooftop solar.

“While we have seen recent action on solar for social housing through collaboration between several state and Federal governments, this approach should be fast-tracked to a greater number of social homes, given the outstanding cost savings on bills and other benefits delivered.

“Apartments are another housing type where government investment now will pay high dividends in cheaper bills and less emissions for long into the future,” he said.

Joel Dignam, Executive Director of Better Renting said,"Everyone should be able to afford the energy they need to lead a decent life. But rising rents and energy costs have made this harder for people who rent.

“Access to rooftop solar can make a huge difference in reducing energy costs. Too many renters have been locked out of these benefits, at the same time as landlords have been increasing rents to record levels.

“This report shows the great potential to expand rooftop solar in Australia. Governments can help achieve this by directly funding rooftop solar for social housing, and making it mandatory for suitable rental properties to have rooftop solar. More solar on more rentals will mean more people benefitting from cheaper energy and lower bills."

Rooftop Solar Potential of Australian Housing Stock by Tenure and Dwelling Type report available here