Australian households and businesses added another 97MW of rooftop solar in 2017, setting a record for the first nine months of the year of 780MW and putting it on track to break through the 1,000MW, or 1 gigawatt, mark for the first time in 2017.
The record level of installations is clearly a response from consumers – household and business – to the soaring cost of electricity from the grid, which jumped around 20 per cent in July due to the rise in wholesale prices caused by an increase in the cost of gas, and the big players exercising their market power.
Australia has now installed some 6.1GW of small-scale rooftop solar since 2010, but the current boom – which has seen households and business invest around $2 billion in their own solar installations – is bigger than the investment surges prompted by overly generous feed in tariffs.
Queensland still leads the way, according to data from industry statistician SunWiz, adding another 27MW in the month to take its total to 1.85GW, followed by NSW (now at 1,3GW) and Victoria (1.14GW).
Rooftop solar and battery storage is expected to play an increasingly important role in the modern grid, both in reducing demand from the grid, including during peak periods, and through its ability to add battery storage and provide services to the grid.
Many estimate that distributed generation – rooftop solar, battery storage, community projects, and demand response, can account for half of all electricity demand within a few decades.
Here solar veteran Nigel Morris discuss the 1GW solar mark, and the volatility in STC prices – and their implications for consumers and installers – in our latest Solar Insiders Podcast.