Solar Potential of Australian Social Housing Stock

There are close to 3 million rooftop solar systems in Australia, with the roofs of nearly one in three houses generating clean, cheap energy.

Although the assumption that rooftop solar is only for the wealthy is not supported by evidence, there is significant inequity due to the specific barriers facing low-income households, renters and apartment residents. In particular, access to capital and split incentives between landlords and tenants prevent many households from installing solar. On average, low-income households spend a greater proportion of their income on electricity than wealthier households, and consume more daytime electricity, so stand to benefit most from generating their own low-cost electricity.

Improving Inequity

This joint report by the University of NSW and the Australian Photovoltaic Institute says adding solar panels to the nation’s 440,000 social housing dwellings could improve the inequity inherent in the renewable energy system by saving low-income households at least $750 a year while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The institute is a not-for-profit organisation supporting the uptake of solar panels.

Report Authors

This report was produced by Mike Roberts, Zubair Abdullah-Vetter, Phoebe Heywood, Anna, Bruce, Renate Egan, researchers in the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering at UNSW Sydney for the Australian PV Institute.

Read the research here.