Emerging inequality in solar panel access among Australian renters

Rohan Best*, Andrea Chareunsy, Madeline Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper analyses progress for the adoption of solar panels, a key technology which is forecast to play a leading role in pursuit of societal sustainability goals. We assess the social change of emerging inequality for whether renters have solar panels at their dwelling. Our analysis uses four large household surveys covering the period of 2012–2020 in Australia, the leading country in the world in terms of solar photovoltaic capacity per capita. Inequality in solar-panel access among renters was hard to detect in 2012, as very few renters had access. This started to change by 2015–16 with the emergence of inequality, with the wealthiest quintile being more likely to have solar-panel access than the lowest quintile by over two percentage points. The gap had increased to 4.5 percentage points by 2019–20. It is therefore possible to forecast inequitable access to solar panels unless policies change to focus on differences among renters. Policies supporting the lowest wealth-quintile of renters would address inequality more effectively than other approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122749
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Inequality
  • Photovoltaic
  • Real estate agent
  • Rent
  • Solar


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