Call for shake-up of Australia’s residential solar water heating industry

Australians require access to better quality and more reasonably-priced solar hot water systems if uptake is to increase, according to Murdoch University senior lecturer Dr Tania Urmee.

A paper published by a research team led by Dr Urmee and Professor Parisa Bahri outlines the case for further developing the solar water heating industry in Australia and calls for improved customer service to help combat negative perceptions among householders.

“In a nation that has an abundance of sunlight, there are vast opportunities to further develop this industry,” Tania says.

“Replacing electricity and gas hot water systems with solar water heating systems in residences throughout Australia would significantly reduce fossil fuel consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions in Australia, however, the uptake remains low.”

Hot water supply accounts for up to 30% of an Australian household’s energy use, equating to about 10kWh per day. Electrical hot water systems are the most common method of water heating used, followed by mains gas, LPG tanks and then by solar heating, which is gas or electricity-boosted. In line with the rest of the nation, the number of installations of solar hot water systems on homes in WA has been in decline, after a peak period in 2010.


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