Soaring power bills see consumers switch to solar installations: AEMC review

Australian energy prices will fall due to renewable influx says AEMC.Australian Energy Market Commission

Soaring power bills and lack of trust in energy retailers are driving more consumers to install their own rooftop solar panels, a new report shows.

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) 2018 review finds higher prices and the growing complexity of energy offers means more customers are opting for solar energy installations.

According to the national retail energy competition review, only one in four Australians say energy retailers have their long-term interests at heart. This has dropped by 10 per cent from 2017.

Solar energy gives control over soaring power bills

The falling cost of solar energy technology is subsequently making solar PV financially viable for many households and small businesses.

Soaring power bills leading consumers to solar says AEMC.

The AEMC annual report finds consumers are looking to solar installations to reduce large power bills. Image: AEMC

Solar uptake should continue to rise as solar costs go on falling, the review predicts.

It also says this is good news for customers keen to take control of their energy by engaging with market transformation.

The study revealed positive news for solar energy as it continues to dominate the Australian energy market.

  • 154,877 residential solar installations took place in 2017.
  • This is an increase of 25 per cent from 2016.
  • 8 million Australian households now use solar panels.
  • Consumers are seeking greater energy efficiency and lower bills.
  • More people are therefore buying or considering solar PV and home batteries.

Between 41 and 62 per cent of energy consumers across the National Electricity Market (NEM) have installed solar panels or are considering buying them.

In addition, 24 and 46 per cent of consumers are considering installing batteries in the next 12 months.

Small business struggling to cope with energy costs

The AEMC’s annual review also shows small businesses struggling with power bills, while larger companies manage their options.

According to AEMC chairman John Pierce, bigger firms have the resources and confidence to shop around to get the best deal from energy retailers.

Businesses with less than 100 employees, however, are absorbing price rises rather than passing them on to customers.

They are also less likely to invest in renewable technology like solar panels and energy storage batteries. This is often because they are tenants, Pierce says.

Businesses in regional Australia outstrip their urban counterparts when it comes to managing energy options, the report also shows.

They are more likely to explore different energy plans, switch  their retailer or plan, and already have solar panels installed.