4602.0.55.001 - Environmental Issues: Energy Use and Conservation, Mar 2014 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/12/2014   
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3 December 2014
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

One in five households now use solar energy

One in five Australian households use solar energy; two in three have a smart phone and three in four have air conditioning, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

"We started publishing statistics on solar electricity in 2011", said Karen Connaughton from the ABS, "and back then the numbers were pretty small - only about five per cent of households."

"Jump just three years, to 2014, and there are solar panels being used by fourteen per cent of all households.

"Add in solar hot water heating and we're up to 19 per cent, so one in five households are now using some form of solar power.

"As you might expect in sunny Australia, three-quarters of Australian households use some form of cooling, with just under half choosing reverse cycle air conditioning and the remainder mostly split between refrigerated air conditioning and evaporative coolers.

"The hot spot for cooling was the Northern Territory, where 97 per cent of households had some form of cooling, while Tasmania was cold to the idea; with only about half having cooling.

"It was the opposite with heating, as close to 90 per cent of NT households felt they could skip heating entirely, but in the ACT it seems you'd have to pry the heater from their cold, wintery hands as only a tiny one per cent of Canberrans reported not having heating.

"On the home technology side of things, while we love our TVs - 98 per cent of households have one, you'll also find games consoles in use in every third household," said Ms Connaughton.

In brief:
  • TV - nearly all Australian households - 98 per cent - had a TV, 35 per cent had two, and 20 per cent had three or more.
  • Computers - there's at least one tablet computer in 51 per cent of households; 69 per cent had a laptop, 10 per cent had three or more laptops in use, and there's still a desktop in use in 44 per cent of households.
  • Phones - 70 per cent of Australian households have a smart phone, and 47 per cent have two or more smart phones.
  • South Australia scored highest for the use of solar panels, with 24 per cent of households there using solar electricity. This was followed by Queensland with 20 per cent, WA with 16 per cent, Victoria with 11 per cent, ACT and NSW both on 10 per cent, Tasmania at seven per cent and NT at six per cent.
  • Almost all households in Australia (99.7 per cent) used mains electricity as a source of energy, half (50 per cent) used mains gas, one in five households used solar energy (20 per cent), one in five households used LPG/bottled gas (20 per cent), and 14 per cent of households use another source of energy.

Media notes:
  • When reporting ABS data the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • Media requests and interviews - contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070.