The state of Victoria is now emerging as Australia’s solar capital, as it catches up to previous leaders Queensland and New South Wales in the rate of rooftop solar PV installations, and continues to lead the country in solar hot water.
While the rate of rooftop solar PV installations remained steady in most Australian states and territories in April 2016, the number of solar hot water systems jumped 18 per cent to 5,670 systems installed for the month.
This “significant surge” in installations, noted in the latest Solar Snapshot from Green Energy Markets, was driven almost entirely by Victoria, as you can see in the chart below.
The number of SHW systems installed in Victoria in April was up a whopping 75 per cent on last month’s figures, while NSW, QLD, WA and TAS recorded falls in system numbers.
In rooftop solar PV, Victoria has now overtaken NSW in the number of solar installation per month, and in the year to date, if not in total capacity.
When combined with the numbers on small-scale solar PV systems – see the market share in the table below – this makes Victoria Australia’s number one state for the adoption of small-scale solar technologies.
Green Energy Markets managing director Ric Brazzale said one of the reasons for Victoria’s big uptake of SHW – the state has always been Australia’s biggest market for the technology – was the additional subsidy provided by the Victorian energy efficiency scheme to households that replaced an existing electric water heater with a SHW system.
“When you look at the numbers, you’ll see that a big chunk – about half of the SHW market – is replacing existing systems,” Brazzale told RenewEconomy. “The other half are new buildings” – current Victorian building standards require all new-build houses to install either solar hot water or a rainwater tank.
Brazzale said SHW was particularly popular in regional areas, where households – either new-build or those wishing to upgrade their hot water services – did not have access to the gas newtork.
He said that high gas prices had also helped to push people off the gas network.