Plain Australians seek plain value, and when it comes to electricity that means solar.

Research released by Solar Citizens shows solar PV uptake is more common in middle-lower socio-economic households than higher socio-economic households.

The study also found solar households were effectively subsidising the energy bills of others by filling the grid with excess solar energy.

Solar Citizens national director Joseph Scales said while it sounded counter-intuitive that people in lower socio-economic groups would be investing the most in solar PV, it made sense given rising bills over the past decade.

“People are reaching for ways to get control over their energy costs and for millions of low and middle income households, solar is the best way to do that,” Scales said.

“This research found that PV uptake was lowest among the highest socioeconomic group and highest among the lowest socio economic group.

“We also cross referenced this ABS data with Domain data on the value of individual’s actual homes and found people with lower average property values were much more likely to have solar (30%) than those with the highest property values (13%).”

The research also found that people in lower socio-economic groups who are investing more in solar are helping to bring down electricity prices for everyone.

“By exporting excess electricity back into the grid, people from lower socio-economic groups are providing a low-cost source of power for everyone else.

“Around a third of all households sell electricity back to their retailers at a rate that is lower than the spot market price. This research totally debunks the myth perpetuated by the coal lobby that household solar drives up power prices – it does the opposite.

“The 2 million solar houses across Australia act like one huge power station generating around 8,900GWh of electricity in the past year alone — more than any coal-fired power station and at much lower cost.”

EcoGeneration can only conjecture that solar modules may be deemed to be unsightly by the upper strata of income-earners.

The research was carried out by the Victoria Energy Policy Centre using billing data from more than 10,000 households, including more than 2,000 with solar.