Census data shows the 4740 postcode is solar crazy. The region is in the top 10 solar areas nationwide.
Census data shows the 4740 postcode is solar crazy. The region is in the top 10 solar areas nationwide. Contributed

How Mackay became one of the nation's solar hot spots

ALTHOUGH the region produces coal, it does not run on it.

Data from the Clean Energy Council shows Mackay is in the midst of a solar revolution with more than one third of homes within the 4740 postcode using solar panels.

At the end of 2018, more than 8000 solar power systems had been installed throughout the area of about 20,000 homes.

InStyle Solar CEO Karl Brown said he believed the cost of living was driving the surge in solar.

"The key thing is the cost of power is going up and the cost of installations are going down," he said.

"It is crazy at the moment, we install 80 to 100 systems a week in Queensland."

Mr Brown said the solar take-up was not limited to metro areas either with a number of regional locations with higher market penetration than big cities. The number of homes and businesses installing solar in Mackay places the region among the highest adopters of solar in the country.

But, he does not think the adoption of solar powered energy it is solely a push to be more green.

"There is a percentage of people who do install solar for the green reasons," he said.

"For the majority of people it is the financial motivation."

Oddly enough, he attributes the estimated 30 per cent solar energy market saturation in the Mackay area to the region's mining industry.

"One of the things I noticed in Mackay is that when mining boomed, there was money around which allowed people with extra cash to splurge on solar systems," he said.

"If someone can afford their power bill they can afford solar, the reason was because energy prices continued to increase and solar is decreasing."

Clean Energy Council smart energy director Darren Gladman said he did not find it surprising Mackay ended up on the list. He said the Ergon Energy monopoly and great conditions for solar made it the perfect location.

"People are looking for a choice and that choice is Ergon or solar," he said.