Rooftop PV – three new views of Australian solar hotspots

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It seems that people are starting to take notice of the growing proliferation of solar PV on the nation’s rooftops. The numbers are becoming more significant by the day – some expect more than 2GW to be installed by the end of the year, and as we wrote last week and again on Monday, just where those panels are being installed might be a surprise to many.

Yesterday, we published a postcode guide to rooftop PV prepared by the REC Agents Association, using data from the Clean Energy Regulator to June 30, 2012. Patrick Hearps, from the Melbourne Energy Institute, took the same data and came up with some different graphs, and they all tell an interesting story.

The first is the total number of kW per postcode. That tells us the story that we have begun to appreciate in the last few months – that the biggest amount of installations have occurred in the outer metropolitan regions of the main eastern state capitals, along with regional NSW and regional Queensland, particularly along the Sunshine coast.

(The graphs assume some geographical knowledge. But if you are afraid to ask, they are –  in clockwise order from top left – northern NSW and south east Queensland’ most of the eastern states and Tasmania; the greater Sydney area; the greater Melbourne area; and Adelaide and the south east corner of South Australia, which has the highest penetration of solar PV than any state).

This graph below, however, tells a different story. It is the measurement of watts per person. As can be seen, the percentage is much greater in regional and rural areas. The capital cities hardly register on this calculation.

But here is another perspective. This is watts per square metre. Here, the capital cities – and some nearby regional areas – are virtually the only game in town.

Ladies and gentlemen, choose your graph!




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  • Patrick

    Interesting maps. Now can someone do an analysis by electorate using the post-codes?

    Looking briefly at the above maps, I suspect that may produce some very interesting and possibly unexpected results with high take up in Coalition and traditional blue-collar ALP seats. This might change some of the political conversation…

    • Giles Parkinson

      Funny you should mention that …. already commissioned. I suspect you are right. And I suspect that is why the Coalition will be keen to maintain its million solar roofs policy – though it may have to upgrade it a “million more” solar roofs policy

  • Tim

    Watts per household would also be interesting.

    For postcodes in WA that are not on the south-west grid, I wonder if watts per person throws up any surprises, because each town can have different feed-in tariffs.

  • The Coast has 14% of the south-east corner’s population but 23% of the region’s total solar installations.