Rural towns beat city folk in turning to sun

The myth that wealthy people are buying solar panels and the less well-off are subsidising them through higher power bills has been dispelled by new data showing which areas of NSW are going solar.

Overwhelmingly, the state's rural districts are leaving the city for dead, and in some regional towns one in every 10 households is feeding renewable energy into the grid.

In Alstonville, on the NSW north coast, 11.9 per cent of households have grid-connected solar power; in Dubbo it is 9.9 per cent, and in Bega it is 9.7 per cent.

By contrast, 0.5 per cent of people in Paddington have grid-connected solar panels, in Surry Hills the figure is 0.8 per cent and in Vaucluse it is just under 1 per cent.

The breakdown of solar power by postcode, based on the latest data from the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator, shows that people on lower incomes are more likely to install panels.

'If anything, the subsidy is going from the rich to the poor – a Robin Hood-type equation,' said Matthew Warren, the chief executive of the Clean Energy Council.

'It's pretty clear that they are quite discreet groups that are buying this technology, and they tend not to be in the more affluent suburbs.'

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