What is the relationship between household wealth and rooftop solar in Australia?

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Mountain, Bruce ORCID: 0000-0002-2093-2038, Burns, Kelly ORCID: 0000-0003-4031-3442 and Willey, Ben ORCID: 0000-0002-6987-4377 (2021) What is the relationship between household wealth and rooftop solar in Australia? Working Paper. Victoria Energy Policy Centre, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria.


Around one in three Australian homes have installed rooftop solar photovoltaics. The relationship between rooftop solar and household income or wealth has been a focus of research in Australia and in other countries. Studies in Australia using survey data tend to the conclusion that rooftop solar uptake is positively associated with wealth, although not necessarily income. We critique those studies and suggest the conclusion on the relationship between wealth and solar installation is not robust. In fact, using data from customers’ electricity bills we find a negative relationship between wealth and rooftop solar. However, we do not think our models are sufficiently robust to reach a firm conclusion. A richer dataset is needed. Continued effort in this area will be valuable considering the possibility that distributed (behind-the-meter) storage will increasingly be paired with rooftop solar. This will potentially have a large effect on the recovery of shared network costs. If it is the case that richer households are able to opt-out of increasingly expensive grid-supplied electricity, regressive impacts may become significant.

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Additional Information

VEPC Working Paper 21-11

Item type Monograph (Working Paper)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/42905
DOI 10.26196/qvgk-dx81
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3801 Applied economics
Current > Division/Research > Victoria Energy Policy Centre (VEPC)
Keywords Rooftop solar, wealth, fairness, equity, just transition, residential
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