The number of Australian homes with rooftop solar power systems has passed the magic one million mark, according to figures from the Clean Energy Regulator, confirming that the milestone was reached in March.
With Queensland leading the charge – it now has more than 300,000 rooftop PV systems installed, NSW comes in second with just under 230,000 – the one millionth PV system was registered in Australia on March 12; a number the industry says translates to around 2.5 million Australians now living in a home with a set of solar panels on the roof – more than the entire population of Western Australia.
“It is remarkable when you think that just five years ago in 2008 there were only about 20,000 systems installed across the entire country,” Clean Energy Council chief executive David Green said.
“For some years solar has been most enthusiastically embraced by those in mortgage-belt suburbs, retirement areas and regional parts of the country. People from all walks of life have been installing solar as a way of protecting themselves from power price pain over the long term.”
As we wrote in November last year, “a whole series of surveys and postcode analysis have shown that Australia has one of the highest deployments of small scale systems on household roofs in the world – beaten only by Japan – and most of this has been put on the rooftops of households in the nation’s mortgage belts, in the city and in regional areas. And now a look at the latest top 10 solar postcodes in Australia (see table below) helps put paid to that persistently-peddled myth that rooftop solar is a middle class indulgence.
Green said that as well as offering households a way to cut soaring power bills, the rooftop solar industry had been a boon to the Australian economy, employing over 8,000 people and leading to billions of dollars in investment. He said the increasing uptake of solar PV systems could also help the the electricity network cope with periods of high demand on very hot days.