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Australia passes the 1 million mark for solar

More than 1 million Australian households now have solar panels, helping to future-proof their families from the rising cost of electricity.

According to the Clean Energy Regulator, more than two million Australians are generating all or part of their energy requirements from the sun, saving some half a billion dollars a year on their electricity bills.

Clean Energy Council chief executive David Green said the figures were remarkable considering that just five years ago there were only about 20,000 systems installed across the entire country.

"For some years solar has been most enthusiastically embraced by those in mortgage-belt suburbs, retirement areas and regional parts of the country," Mr Green said.

"People from all walks of life have been installing solar as a way of protecting themselves from power price pain over the long term."

The milestone, reached in March, has contributed to Australians using 1 per cent less electricity this summer than last, despite it being the hottest summer since records started in 1910.

A spokesman for the federal minister for climate change, Greg Combet, told the Herald Sun newspaper Australians were responding to rising electricity costs by installing solar panels and solar hot water heaters.

"Normally a hotter summer pushes up electricity use as more people and businesses switch on their air conditioners for longer," the spokesman said.

"But despite the hotter weather, the amount of electricity generated in the national electricity market was actually down.

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