Australians have installed more than 100,000 rooftop solar panels this year, more than in the entire previous decade, new data shows.
The clean energy sector says it shows Australians are keen to do their bit in the battle against climate change.
A report by Clean Energy Australia, released by the peak industry body today, provides a snapshot into just how Australia uses renewable energy.
It showed there were 105,520 solar power systems installed in Australia in the 10 months from January to October 2010, more than the 81,232 installed from 2001 to 2009.
The council’s chief executive Matthew Warren said it made solar power technology the “Hills Hoist of the 21st century”.
“Over the past year, more than 100,000 households have made a significant personal investment to take individual action on climate change,” he said in a statement.
It was also a sign Australians were bracing themselves against hikes in electricity prices, Mr Warren said.
Electricity costs are slated to rise by up to two-thirds in NSW and Queensland by 2015 to meet increasing energy demands, with at least $100 billion needed to upgrade aging infrastructure.
Mr Warren said investments in clean energy would be much cheaper.
The report forecasts that the government’s 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target (RET) will dramatically boost the sector, with more than 55,000 jobs to be created by 2020, mostly wind and solar.
That’s up from the 8085 that presently exist.
Mr Warren said policy uncertainty surrounding climate change and renewables had slowed investment in large-scale clean energy projects, which recorded just modest growth.
Seventeen major projects were recorded to October this year, although another 11 are under way.
Overall, 8.67 per cent of Australia’s electricity was provided by renewable sources in 2010, creating 21,751 gigawatt hours, with the remainder coming from fossil fuels.