Queensland, the so-called Sunshine State, has lost its mantle as the biggest market for rooftop solar installations, with NSW overtaking its northern neighbour in the month of February, thanks to a big boost in commercial-scale installations.
Queensland has long held the crown as the biggest market for rooftop solar, and now has more than 1.4GW – out of a country total of more than 4GW.
But on a monthly basis, it has now been overtaken by NSW, and may soon be overtaken by Victoria too. According to two different analyses, NSW became the biggest monthly market in February.
Green Energy Markets says 16.5MW of solar was installed in NSW in February, compared to 15.8MW in Queensland. Victoria followed close behind at 14.6MW. All told, nearly 13,000 homes and businesses signed up for solar in February across the country, for a total capacity of 61.3MW.
NSW’s prime position was almost entirely due to the strength of its commercial market, the businesses that install rooftop solar on their premises. Commercial scale solar – between 10kW and 100kW systems – now accounts for one third of total capacity in NSW, and more than 23 per cent of all small-scale solar installations in Australia in January and February.
This data is borne out by this graph from analyst services group SunWiz, whose graph shows that Queensland has been the biggest monthly market since May, 2011, apart from one blip in late 2013 when a surge in South Australian installations took it briefly to number one. South Australia remains the state with the highest penetration of solar per household, with more than 23 per cent of homes having rooftop solar.
SunWiz also point out another interesting development – the massive overhang in small scale certificates that has plagued the market in recent years may finally be about to be removed.
According to SunWiz head Warwick Johnston, the surplus could end as soon as April 28. If that occurs, it could mean that STCs – the name of the certificates – could finally sell for their nominated price of $40. The price fell to the low $20s at the height of the surplus, cutting the size of the rebate for many households.
Johnston says the surplus is almost certain to clear and could be in deficit. “This means … that $40 will be instantly available to new creators (after certificate validation) until the deficit is rebalanced,” he writes in his latest STC Market Intelligence publication.