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More Australians turning to solar power

Demand for solar power technology is increasing across many parts of the country, as people strive to improve their environmental credentials and reap the benefits of lower electricity prices.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show as many as 19 per cent of Australian households now use solar energy in some form. The most popular type of technology is solar panels, which are particularly gaining favour in South Australia.

The ABS revealed that almost a quarter (24 per cent) of households in the state are using solar electricity, followed by Queensland on 20 per cent. Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales have 16, 11 and 10 per cent of properties relying on the renewable energy source.

There's still room for improvement for uptake in Tasmania and the Northern Territory, where just 7 and 6 per cent of properties have installed solar panels.

"We started publishing statistics on solar electricity in 2011 and back then the numbers were pretty small - only about 5 per cent of households," said Karen Connaughton from the ABS. "Jump just three years, to 2014, and there are solar panels being used by 14 per cent of all households."

Solar hot water heating makes up the remainder of solar power uptake and shows just how widely accepted the technology has become over the past few years.

Further data from the ABS shows Australia is the ninth-largest energy producer in the world, as it accounts for around 2.5 per cent of global production. Energy products have seen increased demand over recent years, among domestic users and from export markets.

The report identified just how important renewable energy is to Australia's economy, as  is ensuring its sustainability stays on track. Investing in renewable technologies is crucial to lowering greenhouse gas emissions and helping the country meet its carbon reduction targets.

Posted by Nikki Wilson-Everett

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