The Geelong & Surf Coast Solar Survey was created to help us better understand how the community can be supported to gain access to solar power. It was designed to identify the barriers and drivers that influence the uptake of solar power and to highlight the best ways to increase residential rooftop solar in the Geelong and Surf Coast region.
The survey was conducted online during an eight month period from February to September 2016. During this time the survey was broadly promoted through social media, local papers, partner email networks and community engagement activities where over 50 community organisations within the Surf Coast Shire were contacted by ReEnergise Geelong volunteers and invited to take part in the survey.
The survey had 481 participants, 299 were within the City of Greater Geelong region and 182 from the Surf Coast Shire. Respondents ranged widely in experience with solar power. Just less than half of survey participants already had solar installed. The other half were residents who did not have solar installed and of this group, 36 percent had received quotes but had not proceeded to installation.
- Renewable energy is overwhelmingly popular. 99% of respondents were supporters of renewables and wanted to see more renewable energy generation within the region.
- There is considerable support for a local renewable energy target (RET). 95% of respondents wanted 50% renewables or higher by 2030, and 83% wanting 100% renewables by 2050.
- Respondents who did not have solar installed are interested in getting it. 67% are interested and 27% may be interested.
- There are a number of barriers stopping respondents from installing solar. The top barriers to getting solar are financial constraints, confusion about product choices and costs, and confusion about who to trust.
- Respondents want a solar bulk buy program among other types of assistance. The preferred types of assistance are. 1.) Solar bulk buy where you purchase as part of a group, 2.) Independent recommendations on which solar installers are good/trustworthy, 3.) Assistance to help calculate solar potential savings. 4.) Council-arranged finance that's paid back through council rates.
- Respondents consistently prefer energy distributors to be investing in renewables and battery storage. 99% of responses wish to see an increase in usage of energy generated locally through investment in renewables rather than investment in higher capacity poles and wires.
- There is interest in investing in large scale community energy projects. 36% of respondents are interested in joining others in the community to invest in larger scale renewable projects around the Geelong and Surf Coast region. A further 51% indicated they “may be interested” in investing in community scale projects.