As urban myths go, the one about solar panels being a luxury enjoyed mostly by the wealthy with poorer households left out has endured well beyond reality. In a research first, the Victoria Energy Policy Centre analysed electricity bills of 10,051 households provided by CHOICE, a fifth with solar power, in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria. Researchers then used socio-economic data and house prices from Domain.com.au to profile the owners. Solar panels are not just mainstream, they even turn up more often on lower and middle-income homes that you might expect. Contrary to public perceptions, solar panel uptake is proportionally more common in roofs of those with lower- to middle socio-economic standing, the study – commissioned by Solar Citizens – found. “People are reaching for ways to get control over their energy costs and for millions of low- and middle-income households, solar is the best way to do that," Solar Citizens’s national director, Joseph Scales, said. In fact, the wealthiest decile had the lowest proportional solar uptake, and the poorest had the highest. Victoria Energy Policy Centre director Bruce Mountain said a range of reasons may be behind the relative lack of interest in solar among the well-heeled. […]

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