Quarter of houses rely on renewable energy

DESPITE living in a coal-centric town, Gladstone residents are leading the nation in the switch to solar.

New figures reveal Gladstone homes are installing solar powered energy at rates faster than the rest of the country, coming in second on the list behind Bundaberg.

About 26 per cent of Gladstone households are now relying on renewable energies.

Bundaberg tops the list with 38 per cent of households now solar users, with Mackay falling shortly behind at 23 per cent.

The Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie praised the efforts of Gladstone residents.

"It's great to see Gladstone residents are taking matters into their own hands, taking control of their power bills and reducing their carbon emissions at the same time," she said.

"Gladstone households already know that renewables make sense economically and environmentally, now it's time for the rest of the country to catch up."

Renewable energies are the one-way road to the future, according to local solar consultant Murray Kay.

"We power the shop here entirely on solar," he said.

"Business has been great here in Gladstone. Solar is the way of the future."

However, the solar versus coal argument presents a conundrum for local who invested in both the renewable and finite industries.

On July 2, Queensland breached the negative energy price barrier for several hours, driven by the prevalence of rooftop solar.

This is not uncommon during the evening when power use is minimal. But on July 2, the milestone was reached in the middle of the day.

Regularly priced at around $40-$50 per megawatt hour, the plunge to zero confirmed solar was not only powering the state.

Predictions declare that 75 per cent of Australia's residential buildings and 90 per cent of commercial buildings will be powered by rooftop solar in as little as ten years, according to UBS data.

It is estimated that the demand for electricity has plummeted by 13 per cent over the past four years.

Topics:  environment gladstone solar power

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