Australian households and businesses have installed more than 1GW of rooftop solar since July, 2013, with the rate of installations growing in the last few months due to uncertainty about the future of the renewable energy target.
Data released by Green Energy Markets shows that in the past 14 months, more than 1,020MW of rooftop solar has been installed across the country, with Queensland the biggest market, followed by Victoria, NSW and South Australia.
Interestingly, the last two states are the biggest installers of commercial-scale rooftop solar, meaning their businesses are particularly active in this sector – and because of low export tariffs, they are consuming most of the output of these systems, and using them to reduce their consumption from the grid as much as possible.
(Note: This data only collected installations under the SRES, or small scale part of the RET. Larger systems of more than 100kW, even though they are installed on the roof, come under the large scale RET – although some businesses put systems of more than 100kW and then claim the rebate for less than 100kW as its less of a hassle)
Green Energy Markets has also lifted its forecast installation for rooftop solar PV in 2014 by 7.5 per cent above its previous forecast. It now expects 785MW of rooftop solar will be installed in calendar 2014, with 181,000 solar PV systems installed across the country at an average size of 4.35 per cent.
It bases these upgrades on a recent surge in interest, probably caused by fears that the upfront incentives – in the form of certificates – would be removed or wound back. It seems that Brian Fisher, one of the Warburton Review panelists that recommended the subsidy be terminated, was not the only one keen to install a system before the government acted on his recommendation.
As we reported last week, Fisher installed a system of more than 4kW on a farming property near Canberra. Despite recommending that the subsidy be ended, he saw no problem availing himself of the discount while it existed. According to Green Energy Markets, some 47,100 rooftop solar PV systems were installed in the September quarter, an increase of 5 per cent that was likely driven by fears that the subsidy could soon end.