Survey reveals Australians’ (sometimes incorrect) beliefs about rooftop solar

A survey has found that nearly one half of Australian households – both those with solar panels and those considering it – expect a pay-back on their investment within 5 years, and about 19 per cent of those with solar expected a payback within 3 years.

The survey conducted by Colmar Brunton for the Australian government’s AntiDumping Commission, also found that a small minority (4 per cent) of households thought they would get a payback within 2 years.

More than twice as many as that, however, thought it would take more than 10 years to get the money back on their rooftop solar investment.

Those findings are probably fairly consistent with most people’s experience, even if the results for individual households are variable according to how much solar people install, where they put it, where they live, how they use the output and what tariffs they are facing.

Another finding, however, is quite startling: it seems that many Australians do not know where their solar panels come from and up to one third have the mistaken belief that their solar panels were made in Australia.

According to the survey, a total of 31 per cent of those surveyed throught they had bought Australian solar modules.

Given that the Australian market has only one solar module manufacturer (Tindo Solar in Adelaide), which has a fraction of a 1 per cent market share, they are clearly mistaken.

Another 31 per cent did not know where their panels came from. Only 14 per cent thought that their panels came from China, where in fact market data shows that Chinese module manufacturers account for more than 80 per cent of the market.

“It is clear that there is some confusion,” the report says. “It could be that households assume that their panels are Australian assembled when they are not, or perhaps that it is not made clear during the sales process.

“Regardless, given the importance of country of origin and brand in the purchase decision it is clear there is a lack of awareness among consumers on the true origin of their panels.”

© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson