The two unlikely states leading Australia’s stunning growth in rooftop PV output

Rooftop solar in Tasmania.

Guess which two states enjoyed the sunniest conditions to lead the growth of rooftop solar PV output in the first quarter on Australia’s main grid. It turns out to be the country’s two southern most states – Tasmania and Victoria.

The growth of rooftop solar is by far the healthiest part of Australia’s stuttering transition to a renewables-dominated grid.

While the roll-out of large scale wind and solar stalled again the first quarter – not a single new project was registered or connected to the National Electricity Market during that period, according to the Australian Energy Market Operator – rooftop solar installations are at or near record highs.

So much so that in the last two quarters, solar PV mounted on the rooftops of homes and businesses have produced significantly more output than either wind or large scale solar.

In the last quarter, rooftop PV accounted for 13 per cent of total generation, only just short of brown coal and ahead of both large scale wind (11.8 per cent) and large scale solar (8.6 per cent).

In the March quarter, according to AEMO’s latest Quarterly Energy Dynamics report, the average output of distributed PV reached record highs in Victoria (787 MW), South Australia (445 MW) and Tasmania (58 MW).

Source: AEMO

In Queensland (931 MW) and New South Wales (1,050 MW) there were records for the highest first quarter. Note that these numbers reflect averages over the 24 hour period, so the daytime output is considerably higher.

AEMO also noted that the biggest growth in output came from the two southern most states, with Tasmania showing growth of 29 per cent and Victoria 20 per cent.

There was moderate growth in NSW and South Australia of 11 per cent and 9 per cent respectively, while Queensland showed small growth of just 3 per cent, apparently caused by a 10 per cent drop in average solar exposure in Brisbane.

In contrast, the country’s two most southern-most capital cities, Melbourne and Hobart, observed increases in solar exposure of 10 per cent and 6 per cent respectively, which was a major factor in their spectacular growth in output in the quarter.

Source: AEMO

According to AEMO’s QED report, both distributed PV and grid-scale solar reached record instantaneous highs of 13,311 MW and 6,531 MW during the quarter, representing year on year increases of 16% and 18% respectively.

See also: Record wind and solar push down prices across grid, except for most coal dependent state

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