SOLAR STARS: Bay emerges as green energy powerhouse

HERVEY Bay continues to reign as a solar energy champion.

The Fraser Coast city is in the top five solar postcodes in Australia, coming in third.

More than 600,000 Queensland homes and small businesses now have rooftop solar panels helping drive down their power bills.

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said one in three Queensland homes was now equipped with rooftop solar.

"The Sunshine State is fast becoming the Solar State," Dr Lynham said.

"Queensland has one of the highest penetrations of solar in the world.

"Four of Australia's top-five solar postcodes are in Queensland, with Bundaberg number one and Hervey Bay, Mackay and Toowoomba at three, four and five

"Caloundra comes in at ninth and then Beenleigh at number 10."

Hervey Bay has been near the top of the list for solar panel installations for years.

"This is good news for the environment, good news for household power bills and good news for jobs and business in the renewables industry," Dr Lynham said.

"Queensland has an economic strategy for recovery, and it includes jobs in emerging sectors like renewables.

"This milestone demonstrates Queenslanders are serious about turning to renewable energy to reduce their power bills and emissions."

Dr Lynham said renewables now had become the cheapest form of energy generation, which helped to put downward pressure on energy prices.

Queensland's renewable energy revolution is also underway in large scale renewable projects, including the Forest Wind Farm near Maryborough.