Affection for solar extends across all political colours

New polling shows ownership of solar is almost exactly the same across Labor, Conservatives, Greens, and unaligned voters. It's one key reason why the Abbott Government got cold feet on abolishing the small-scale Renewable Energy Target.

Polling undertaken by Essential Research for the publication Crikey has found that ownership of solar power panels and solar hot water varies little across households with different political leanings.

The results, below, show that ownership of solar PV varies just a single percentage point across households that vote Labor, Liberal-National or Greens.

Solar hot water shows slightly greater variance but is still not all that great. The only noticeable area of difference in terms of selection of green energy options, is use of GreenPower which is noticeably more popular among Green voters than households of other political persuasions.

Source: Essential Research – The Essential Report 27 January 2015

The research finds that a stronger indicator of propensity to own solar power panels and solar hot water is to be 55 years of age or older (34% of households for solar PV and 22% for solar hot water) and to live in Queensland (36% have solar PV).

For those that don’t already own solar power or solar hot water, the research found a greater difference between households depending on their political preference.

Over a third of green voters said they were considering obtaining a solar PV system within the next 12 months while this was just 11% for Liberal and National Party voters. But given the fact that ownership statistics simply don’t bear out the idea of Greens voters being more prolific buyers of solar (indeed, data on actual solar installations by postcode shows solar is least prevalent in seats with strong votes for the Greens) this may be a case of money not being put where the mouth is.

Source: Essential Research – The Essential Report 27 January 2015

Another odd result out of the survey is that it reports a level of ownership of solar PV panels (at 27% of surveyed households) that is considerably higher than concrete sales data shows is actually the case (15% of all Australian households).

Nonetheless this finding that solar energy has appeal across the political spectrum is supported by a range of other market and survey data. It is a key reason why the solar industry has managed to scare the Abbott Government away from adopting the recommendation from the Abbott Office’s own handpicked Warburton Review to abolish the household solar component of the Renewable Energy Target scheme.

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