Canada and USA outshone by the Aussies for solar adoption

Residential-scale solar panels have seen enormous reductions in cost and dramatic increases in efficiency in past decades

The report showed almost 30 per cent of Australians said they would be deterred from living in a home if it did not have solar. Adobe Stock photo by Adam Calaitzis.

A new survey by Compare the Market Australia has revealed that Aussies are almost twice as likely as Americans, and over four times as likely as Canadians to have solar installed at their home.

American Millennial homeowners and Aussie Gen Z homeowners were the two most likely groups to have solar – with adoption rates of 53.2 per cent and 53.6 per cent respectively and of the people who didn’t already have solar, 44.4 per cent said they wanted it.  Across all three nations, the biggest barrier preventing people from getting solar was the cost.

Over the past decades, residential-scale solar panels have seen enormous reductions in cost and dramatic increases in efficiency, making them more attractive for people seeking to generate their own electricity without relying on fossil fuels.

With this in mind, Compare the Market ran a survey to take the pulse on people’s attitudes towards solar energy.

The research found that Australians were more likely to have solar panels on their home (34.9 per cent adoption overall) compared to Americans (17.8 per cent) or Canadians (8.2 per cent). Renters were also consistently less likely to have solar panels than homeowners overall across all three nations.

People aged 58+ were the least likely age group to have solar, while Generation Z (ages 18 to 25) was the most likely in Australia and Canada. Interestingly, in the United States, Millennials were significantly more likely to have solar than other age groups, while in Australia the adoption rate is relatively similar across all ages. In Canada, interest seemingly decreases with age.

Percentage of population that has solar panels installed

Nation Age Renters Homeowners Total
Australia 18 – 25 years (Gen Z) 30.5% 53.6% 39.4%
26 – 41 years (Millennials) 11.7% 44.7% 32.4%
42 – 57 years (Gen X) 10.1% 47.4% 35.6%
58+ years (Baby Boomers) 8.5% 43.5% 34.8%
Overall 14.1% 45.4% 34.9%
Canada 18 – 25 years (Gen Z) 19.6% 26.8% 18.8%
26 – 41 years (Millennials) 2.6% 21.8% 12.4%
42 – 57 years (Gen X) 4.1% 6.4% 5.4%
58+ years (Baby Boomers) 0.0% 2.4% 1.6%
Overall 4.9% 10.6% 8.2%
USA 18 – 25 years (Gen Z) 10.9% 25.8% 14.6%
26 – 41 years (Millennials) 12.5% 53.2% 37.0%
42 – 57 years (Gen X) 2.8% 19.7% 11.4%
58+ years (Baby Boomers) 5.7% 8.7% 7.6%
Overall 7.5% 25.0% 17.8%

Compare the Market’s research also revealed that 72.8 per cent of Australians, 52.4 per cent of Canadians and 66.3 per cent of Americans claimed they had seen a reduction in their electricity bill since getting solar panels. These people claimed to have saved approximately $200 (of their local currency) of their quarterly electricity bill, on average.

Of the respondents who didn’t already have solar installed on their homes, just under half of people said they wanted them (44.4 per cent). Americans were the least likely to want solar panels if they didn’t already have them at 39.0 per cent, compared to 49.0 per cent of Aussies and 46.0 per cent of Canadians.

So what are the main reasons that people don’t have solar? Perhaps unsurprisingly, across all three nations the biggest reason overall was cost, while the second biggest reason was people renting – so installing solar panels was not up to them.

Australians were more passionate overall than Canadians or Americans about living in a home with solar. In fact, almost 30 per cent of Australians said they would be deterred from living in a home if it did not have solar, compared to about 17 per cent of Americans and 15 per cent of Canadians.

In general, concern for having solar seemingly decreases with age, although both Australian and American Gen Z-ers were less concerned than their Millennial counterparts.

Compare the Market’s Head of Energy, Meredith O’Brien, said solar panels are a good way to help lower your electricity bills while reducing your reliance on fossil fuels.

“It seems that Australians, in general, appear more receptive to installing solar panels on their homes compared with our North American counterparts.

“Even still, it is clear there is a long way to go in terms of adoption rates for all three nations.”

To view the full data, graphics and methodology, visit:

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