The results of Energy Consumers Australia’s latest ECBS survey provide insight into interest and action around the use of home solar power, batteries and electric vehicles.
Based on fieldwork completed in mid-August, the latest ECA Energy Consumer Behavior Survey was conducted with a sample of 2,384 households.
As for Australians considering buying a solar power system, storage battery or electric vehicle at some point (but not soon), here’s how things went in 2022 compared to 2021.
- Solar: 17% (15%)
- Batteries: 24% (21%)
- Electric vehicle: 23% (18%)
33% of respondents already had solar panels and 9% a home battery. Regarding a purchase in the next 12 months:
- Solar: 5% (5%)
- Batteries: 3% (3%)
- Electric vehicle: 4% (3%)
… things are static except on the EV front. This is interesting given the rise in electricity prices before the survey. And as long as there is more electricity price increases probably along the way, many Australians would not have been aware of this situation at the time the ECBS survey was carried out.
So what about purchases in the last 12 months?
- Solar: 7% (7%)
- Batteries: 2% (3%)
- Electric vehicle: 1% (2%)
SolarQuotes has seen a significant increase in interest in getting quotes starting in late May. It stayed high for a while, then dipped a bit before coming back with a vengeance early last week. This was prompted by widespread media coverage of further planned electricity price hikes. It remains to be seen whether the latest spike in interest will just be a quick sugar hit and stabilize at still high levels or pull back further.
Barriers to Adoption
Commenting on the ECBS findings, Energy Consumers Australia policy manager and social scientist Taneesha Amos-Hampson said that of households without solar panels, only 26% intend to buy a system or are considering it.
“We also see this reluctance play out in the same way in other technologies such as household batteries and electric vehicles,” Ms Amos-Hampson said.
Barriers to adoption include – and no surprises here:
- Initial costs.
- Tenants and people living in apartment buildings unable to do so.
- Able, but unwilling due to a perceived lack of good information – or trust.
On the latter, Ms Amos-Hampson says “both tend to amplify doubt and uncertainty and thwart action”.
But among the group that does not have solar panels, 43% are tenants and 61% are under financial pressure. This is a tricky situation – solar panels will save households money and ease financial pressure. But the initial costs even with the solar discount may still be too big a hurdle for many to cross. There are different ways to finance a solar energy systembut some should be approached with caution – like Solaire “Buy now, pay later” (BNPL) provisions.
“Despite the driving forces brought by the energy crisis, we can see an element of impasse when it comes to the adoption of these new technologies and measures,” says Ms. Amos-Hampson. “Consumers, through their inaction, are telling us they need more support to move from interest to action.”
Learn more about the latest ECBS results can be found hereand that of Mrs. Amos-Hampson interpretation of the results here.