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Queensland rooftop solar reaches 2GW, but NSW now biggest market

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One Step Off The Grid

The state of Queensland broke through the 2GW (gigawatt) level for rooftop solar installations in February, although it was overtaken for the first time in several years by New South Wales as the biggest market for installations.

Queensland added 28.874MW of rooftop solar in February, taking its cumulative total of 2.016GW, according to data from industry statistician SunWiz.

NSW is the second ranked state in terms of total deployment, with 1.47GW, but in the month of February pipped Queensland as the large market for the month with installations of 29.22MW.

As we reported on Thursday last week, Australia installed 118MW in total in February, confirming a super-fast start to the year that analysts say will almost certainly better the record 1057MW installed in 2017.

“Following a best-ever January, (this latest result) means we’re off to our fastest ever start to the year,” says SunWiz director Warwick Johnston.

The surge in installations is being driven by households in the first two months of the year – likely driven by a combination of a jump in prices from grid-based power (up around 20 per cent), and continuing falls in the price of solar modules (down 10 per cent in 12 months).

Also, more households are interested in battery storage, although most appear to be holding off installations until they see a further fall in battery prices.

This is further reinforced by the growth in installations in the 6-10kW size – suggesting that homes are seeking to put as much solar on their roofs as possible as they contemplate battery storage, or possibly electric vehicles.

Most states are experiencing growth of between 50 per cent and more than 100 per cent in the first two months of the year, over the same period a year ago.

But Queensland is the only state not to post record sales for the first two moths (installations in early 2013 were stronger, when the states generous feed-in-tariffs were about to come to an end.

Victoria installed 22.5MW in the latest month, Western Australia installed 18.5MW – its highest ever for a single month, South Australia 14.9MW, while Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory installed 3.7MW between them.

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, which focuses on customer experience with distributed generation. To sign up to One Step’s free weekly newsletter, please click here.

  

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  • Jon

    This is pretty nice to see.
    The article says mainly households, is there much commercial rooftop starting to come in?

    • Steve Applin

      Commercial is a very different market than residential. In WA, many commercial customers have minimum take clauses and unbundled tariffs which, in practice between the two, preclude PV. These customers will often be paying well under $0.10 per kWh for the *electricity* component of their bill, so their situation requires careful management to ensure that the installation of PV is cost effective.

      At the moment, the trade weighted price of wholesale electricity in WA is about $0.046 per kWh. Without knowledge of how to manage an unbundled bill it’s hard to compete with that.

      • Jon

        Hi Steve
        I agree, commercial is very different with a lot of charges based around peak demand. As a lot of businesses trade inside daylight hours there is a real opportunity to shave that peak demand.

        • Steve Applin

          Talking of trading, uptake is also limited by businesses which don’t operate 7 days. When you take out the weekend, that’s a 28.6% reduction of benefit from the system. The business can get a FIT back from their retailer, but it’s nowhere near the LCOE of the PV system.

          • Jon

            Most malls, shops etc trade 7 days per week.

        • palmz

          Unfortunately they have to look at the risk of the solar failing at the wrong time as well (risk) as it only takes one day to kill a lot of those savings.

          When you are talking demand charges (it could be from a single string not working) then there is the risk that peak demand may not mach up with solar generation. (morning, late afternoon or even outside of day time)

          • neroden

            Seems to me the commercial battery market would handle that demand charge issue.

          • palmz

            But what type? For extremely spiky demand supercapacitors might be best.

            For less spiky demand lithium batteries might be the best suited.

            And longer peak demand periods flow batterys could blow the other options out of the water.

            Don’t forget this has to add up as an investment for a company…. Batteries/storage will make perfect sense in some cases in other cases they will be a terrible idea.

            Hopefully companys will keep an open mind and see if they are workable for them.

  • Tom

    What’s total cumulative Australian rooftop capacity?