The emperor and the cowboys: The role of government policy and industry in the adoption of domestic solar microgeneration systems

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Abstract

© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. While domestic solar microgeneration installations have increased in popularity, there is potential for their adoption to slow as financial incentives are reduced or phased out. This study uses a postal survey of 362 solar adopters in Western Australia to identify areas of policy improvement for the adoption of domestic solar systems. Research included quantitative analysis of Likert-type statements and analysis of qualitative comments by survey respondents, including testing the validity of inferences in comments using publicly-available data. While the vast majority of respondents were satisfied with their systems, satisfaction rates were lower for consumers not receiving the premium feed-in tariff and where information on systems was not self-sourced. Consumers considered governments to be untrustworthy and information provided by industry was perceived as inconsistent and inaccessible. Consumers felt they did not receive a fair price for electricity exported to the network and feared that changes in utility prices could render their investment uneconomical. Concerns regarding members of industry may be allayed by certification schemes, but these remain voluntary and limited in effectiveness. These findings underscore the need for increased government activity in providing independent information to consumers and regulating the solar industry, including commitments to long term policies and certification schemes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-151
JournalEnergy Policy
Volume81
Early online date4 Mar 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

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