Factors in the Adoption of solar Domestic Hot water Systems in Brisbane (SEQ)

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Dale, Pat

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Stock, Errol

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The economical, technological and environmental viability of Solar Domestic Hot Water (SDHW) technology is well established. Its potential role as a major contributor to meeting residential hot water needs is the view promoted in this research and the major reason why it is taken up by users. There is also a need to explore the barriers preventing a household’s adoption of Solar Domestic Hot Water (SDHW), particularly in Queensland, the “Sunshine State” of Australia. This research is based on eight hypotheses, suggesting factors that may be related to the household decision to adopt solar. A household survey collected data to test the hypotheses in an effort to explain underlying factors that influence the pattern of household take-up as evident in Brisbane, South East Queensland. The research identified the following factors as important to the adoption of solar domestic hot water:

  1. Newspapers/magazines and personal recommendations by friends and relatives are key sources of information that households access when making a decision on SDHW;
  2. There are five other factors which help explain both organizational subsystems and behavioral subsystems as having a relationship with household adoption of SDHW. These are: factors related to energy suppliers, operating factors, government initiatives (specifically SDHW Rebate), environmental issues; namely attractiveness of the system because solar energy is renewable and socio-economic factor such as the presence of ‘Other’ household residents in occupational groups, in particular, managers and administrators;
  3. The findings offer evidence to enhance issues already identified in previous work and pursued in the current research on SDHW in Queensland (Berrill 1991), which identifies socio-political and environmental issues, as two of the three issues relating to “Quality of life”. The third economic issue is also looked at in this research.
  4. New findings are evident in support of interrelationships’ between socio-political, energy supply systems and technological awareness factors, namely Government Rebate, Energy Supplier and Operating Factors and the household decision to adopt SDHW;
  5. The findings offer an explanation as to why technological factors pertaining to SDHW and factors involved in assessing satisfaction with the system have been misunderstood. The results clearly indicate an overwhelming satisfaction with the SDHW system;
  6. This research contributes to the body of research in this area, especially as it puts forward evidence of why socio-economic characteristics of household’s are a fundamental aspect in understanding the adoption of SDHW. It provides households’ perspectives to the identified issues that directly affect them. These perspectives can then be incorporated into the identification, development and implementation of public and private energy policy.
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Thesis (Masters)

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Master of Philosophy (MPhil)


Griffith School of Environment

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The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.

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Solar hot water systems

Solar domestic hot water technology

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