Over 750,000 homes in Australia now have rooftop solar

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That’s 1.7GW of installed capacity and counting, with new data suggesting small-scale solar will rise to over 2.3 GW in around 12 months time.

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The latest data from the Australian Clean Energy Regulator shows that more than 750 000 homes in Australia are now equipped with solar PV panels totalling almost 1.7 GW of installed capacity says the Sustainable Energy Association of Australia (SEA).

With 8 million homes in Australia and existing growth trends, more than 10% of homes will have installed solar panels within the next couple of months.

Figure 1. Cumulative number of solar panels (as measured by SGUs).

Installation rate of solar has slowed slightly from 2011 when more than 860 MW of solar PV was installed, but based on current trends an additional 600 MW of small scale solar capacity is likely to be added in 2012.

Figure 2. Cumulative capacity of solar panels (kw – as measured by SGUs).

Forecasting installation rates forward, Australia is likely to have a million homes with solar in around 12 months time, bringing installed capacity of small scale solar to over 2.3 GW.

Average system size continues to grow, with systems recorded for June 2012 averaging 2.84 kw, but with changes in feed in tariffs occurring around Australia, this trend looks set to reverse.

Figure 3. Average size of solar panel installations (kw – as measured by SGUs).

Changing policy

Changes in the solar multiplier led to an accelerated installation up to June 2011, and with further staggered perturbations to the market caused by changes in feed in tariff policies in different states.

Figure 4. Number of solar panel installations by month (as measured by SGUs) (April – June
2012 data excluded as preliminary)

Figure 5. Capacity of solar panel installations by month (as measured by SGUs) (April – June
2012 data excluded as preliminary).

Figure 6. Average size of solar panel installations by month (as measured by SGUs).

Feed-in tariff policy is expressed in sudden changes in the average size of installed systems. The most dramatic impact of this seen in Western Australia where the termination of a solar feed-in tariffs were announced without warning.

Queensland now has the largest amount of installed solar in the nation with over 475 MW

Table 1. Preliminary numbers and installed capacity of solar, as measured by Small
Generation Unit (SGU) certificates to 30 June 12 by State

(Note figures will continue to rise for 2011/12 due to a 12 month creation period of SGU
certificates.)

Professor Ray Wills is chief adviser to the Sustainable Energy Association (SEA)

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2 Comments
  1. Rob 7 years ago

    Interesting to see this unfold. There is a myth floating around that 90% of small-scale installations are registered in 60 days. In fact it takes 150 days** to get to the 90% level.

    This means that everything written in the report above understates what has really happened.

    (** This 150 day period is straightforward to establish, just look at the CER quarterly data for the Apr-2011, May-2011 and Jun-2011 installations. By simple interpolation we can see we had to wait till Sep-2011, Oct-2011 and Nov-2011 respectively to hit the the 90% level where 100% is determined by the Jun-2012 snapshot since 12 months have passed and so no more STCs can be registered for the anything installed Jun-2011 or earlier.)

  2. Paul 7 years ago

    Agree with Rob, there is substantial lag. All still good for users though. Will be interesting to see when the spike coming from larger and commercial sizes will be visible.

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