Australian solar’s record-smashing year. In eye-watering charts | RenewEconomy

Australian solar’s record-smashing year. In eye-watering charts

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To say 2018 was a record year for Australian solar PV is practically an understatement. Every imaginable record was broken, and broken repeatedly.

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By all accounts, 2018 was a stellar year for Australian Solar Power. To celebrate all of the solar glory, SunWiz has written a series of articles covering 2018 – the key trends, achievements, and milestones for each state and segment of the Australian solar industry.

To say 2018 was a record year for Australian PV is practically an understatement. Every imaginable record was broken, and broken repeatedly. SunWiz’s monthly Insights releases detailed the records broken each and every month in 2018, and just when you thought a record would stand for years to come, it would be eclipsed the very next month.

A look at the monthly registration volume nationally shows the series of repeatedly broken records as the market grew and grew and grew. Though some years in the past had months that were as large as some of the months in 2018, volumes in those years were never sustained in the way they were in 2018.

This meant that every month in 2018 was higher than all but the top 5 months – two of which occurred at the end of 2017… and nine of the the top months recorded to date occurred in 2018. Starting to understand why saying “2018 was a record year” is an understatement?

And even when there was a dip in monthly registration, it typically only fell to “second-best result on record” before the record was broken the following month – and was most often explained by school holidays.

For example, even though December 2018’s volume was lower than November 2018’s volume, the weeklyregistration figures through December show a registration volume topping 60MW in a single week – not only higher than any previous year by a long margin but also double the volume registered earlier in the same year.

The same story of repeatedly broken records applies to the commercial market, and was also borne out in each state… but we’ll save story that for forthcoming articles.

Records Smashed

Here is a list of the records that were set in 2018:

  • STC Market
    • Record capacity registered in a month – November, 177MW
    • Record capacity registered in a week – Week Commencing Dec 17 2018, 62MW
    • Record average system size in a month – December, 7.7kW
    • Record commercial volume in a month – December, 55MW
    • Record proportion of STC volume that was commercial – June, 35%
    • Record monthly volume in most states (WA December, NSW SA & VIC November)
    • Record years for QLD, NSW, SA, VIC, WA, ACT, and NT (only TAS missed out)
  • LGC Market
    • Record number of LGC solar projects in a year – 450 registered, 642 projected
    • Record volume of LGC capacity installed in a year – 2020MW confirmed, 2248MW projected
    • Record system size (189MW, Coleambally)


As a result of all that volume the Australian PV industry hit some pretty significant milestones in 2018. These include:

  • 2 millionth PV system installed
  • A cumulative 8 GW of sub-100kW capacity
  • A cumulative 10GW of PV installed overall, when including solar farms
  • A cumulative >2 GW of STC systems installed in QLD
  • A cumulative >1 GW of STC systems installed in each of NSW, VIC, and WA
  • 68,000 commercial systems installed

Looking at the national tally in the sub-100kW market, 1.58GW was registered in 2018. This was 47% growth on 2017’s volume. If instead of the date a system registered for STCs we consider the date of actual installation, SunWiz calculates that the tally was 1.64GW. And that’s just for the STC market. By the end of this series of articles, you’ll find that the national tally including LGC systems was as high as 3.89GW.

2019 looks almost certain to exceed the records set in 2018. Rooftop PV continues to offer an unbeatable financial return, solar farms in construction exceed the capacity built to date, and state government programs are ramping up.

These trends, facts and figures are covered in extraordinary detail in SunWiz’s 2018 Year in Review, which can be purchased for $1995 ex GST, which also includes a complimentary 3 month subscription to Insights, SunWiz’s flagship PV market intelligence subscription.

The topics covered in our Year in Review series are:

  1. 2018 – Australian Solar’s record-smashing year. In eye-watering charts
  2. 2018 – state roundup
  3. 2018’s Top Retailers
  4. 2018 – Trends in Commercial PV
  5. 2018 – residential revival
  6. 2018- Australia’s magnificent year for solar farms

Request your copy of the 2018 Australian PV Year in Review for $1995 ex GST by emailing [email protected]

To boost the solar industry this year, SunWiz has kicked off 2019 by including free high-definition rooftop imagery in every PVsell account, and offering a stand-alone roof layout tool for those who don’t need to use PVsell’s impressive financial analysis and tailored customer proposals. Both of these continue SunWiz’s mission to assist businesses to sell more solar for greater profitability.

Subscribe to PVsell and get high-definition rooftop imagery included at no extra charge.

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