Australian rooftop solar PV cheapest in world, says IEA report

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The cost of installing solar PV systems on Australian households and businesses is among the cheapest in the world, according to the latest global PV report from the International Energy Agency, released on Monday.

The report, the IEA’s 20th Trends in Photovoltaic Applications report, shows that in Australia, along with many regions of the world, solar PV is now recognised as one of the least-cost options for electricity generation.

And as you can see in the table below, Australia has some of the world’s cheapest installed system prices for grid-connected residential and commercial solar PV systems, at $US1.76/W and $1.61/W, respectively.

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On solar PV module prices, listed in the table below, Australia is on par with, or cheaper than, most ranking EU countries, and is competitive with Japan and China, which had the lowest reported module price in 2014 at $US0.61c/W – up from $US0.52c/W in 2013, recorded in Australia.

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For this reason, among others, Australia has jumped from 10th to 8th position on the IEA’s list of the top 1o global PV markets, with 0.9 GW installed in 2014, up from 0.8GW in 2013. At the end of 2014, Australia had 4.1GW of PV systems installed and commissioned and is on track to reach 5GW by the end of 2015.

A total of 12.9MW of new domestic off-grid capacity was installed in Australia in 2014, and 3.2MW of non-domestic off-grid capacity. In total, the IEA report counts 148MW of off-grid capacity installed in Australia.

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As you can see in the chart below, solar PV now accounts for 2.5 per cent of Australia’s total electricity needs. Leading the world in this metric is Italy, where solar PV generation accounts for around 8 per cent of annual electricity demand coming from PV, followed by Germany and Greece at 7 per cent.

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It is interesting to note in the above chart that almost half of that 2.5 per cent of Australia’s solar contribution is consumed at its point of generation – that is, self consumed. Quite a high rate, compared to the other countries listed. And the chart below, from the Australian PV Institute (APVI), shows the state by state breakdown of solar PV output, up to August 2015.

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Globally, 2014 saw continued growth in the PV market, with a total of 40GW of PV capacity installed during 2014 compared with 37GW in 2013. This raised the total installed capacity to more than 177GW.

For the second year in a row, the Asia-Pacific region was the largest regional market for PV, with a total of 23.8 GW installed in the region, led by China with 10.6GW and Japan with 9.7GW. In the Americas, installations reached 7.4GW, with the US dominating with 6.2GW, while the market dropped for the third year in a row in Europe to 7GW.

And just because it always bears repeating, the final chart we will share from the IEA report is that showing just how much solar PV module prices have fallen over the past 15 years.

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  • I don’t see the UK listed in an of the charts! I wonder why?

  • Matthew Wright

    Actually it’s common in the market to pay USD $1.20/W ($1.70W unsubsidised) or even lower (from less reputable suppliers). The IEA is quoting the price we were paying for PV in Australia 2-3 years ago.