Millennials keen on solar, storage & the grid of the future: Survey

What do Millennials want from their energy company? That is the question a recent Accenture survey has sought to address, and the findings are a clarion call to those utilities and retailers who still believe business-as-usual will do.

The survey found that 76 per cent of the Gen Y people surveyed were interested in a “connected” home energy service, while 60 per cent were likely to sign up for an app that remotely monitored and controlled their home energy use.

Another 67 per cent said they were interested in an in-home system that automatically limited their electricity usage during peak periods, in return for bill credits.

More than half of those surveyed, 56 per cent, said they were likely to invest in solar panels – one way or another – within the next five years. Among this group, 73 per cent expected to be able to sell the excess power their PV system produced, while 77 per cent said they would use battery storage to hold it, for self-consumption.

Interestingly, however, the survey also found that a massive 67 per cent of respondents had not received information from their energy provider on distributed energy resources like solar and storage, or on products and services like automated energy control or in-home EV charging points. Another 22 per cent did not remember if they had received this information.

In short, says Accenture, “the time of energy as a commodity is over. It is now about engaging the whole consumer. Consumers expect providers to care for their individual values and needs.”

So what will be the major Millennial-driven energy trends in Australia? According Accenture Asia Pacific, with home ownership in Australia poised to tip to less than 50 per cent in 2017, “collective consumption” will be a trend worth watching.

It notes that the products and services Millennials want, like solar and home energy management, are traditionally geared towards home owners. But given Millennials either don’t want to own their own home, or can’t afford to, utilities will need to adjust in order to meet these needs, he says.

More than two-thirds, or 69 per cent of those surveyed said they were interested in peer-to-peer energy trading – a service that maximises the money made from distributed energy generation by automatically deciding when to buy energy from third party providers, as well as other consumers and/or when to sell energy to third party.

Of this group, 47 per cent were interested in the technology, but not willing to pay for it, while 16 per cent were interested and willing to pay for the service.

© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd