One of Australia’s hottest renewable energy sectors, residential solar, has chalked up another major milestone, with the number of households to have installed rooftop PV passing the two million-mark.
The achievement, notched up last week, was announced by the Clean Energy Council on Monday – around five years and 7 months after Australia reached 1 million solar homes– alongside its own tally of the nation’s top solar postcodes.
It’s a remarkable achievement for a sector that just keeps breaking records, as growth heads in one direction and costs in the other. And it’s worth noting that just 10 years ago there were only about 20,000 systems installed across the entire country.
Month after month we have seen record-breaking growth that, as the chief of the Australian Energy Market Operator likes to put it, averages out to six rooftop solar panels installed every minute somewhere around the country. If you count panels from large-scale solar, it’s more like 12-20 per minute.
Like the data from the Clean Energy Regulator last week– which highlighted the top solar postcode for each state and territory – the CEC data shows a rooftop solar market that is still well and truly booming, led by Queensland.
According to the CEC, the Sunshine State currently boasts four of the nation’s top five solar postcodes, starting with Bundaberg in the state’s centre.
Mandurah in Western Australia holds second spot on the rooftop ladder, followed by three more Queensland locations: Hervey Bay, Caloundra and Toowoomba.
(Ed Note: These findings differ from those of the CER last week because the CER is counting uptake of all small-scale solar technologies, including solar hot water.)
And you can see the top three household solar postcodes for each state in the table below:
But what is really interesting to note from the CEC report, particularly as a federal election looms, is the political status of those and other top solar postcodes.
As you can see in the list below, *almost all one of the CEC’s top five solar postcodes in Queensland and WA reside in Liberal or Liberal-National Party held electorates – both at the state and federal levels.
- Bundaberg, QLD. Fed MP is Keith Pitt, LNP; State MP David Batt, LNP
Mandurah, WA. Fed MP is Andrew Hastie, Liberal Party; State David Templeman, ALP
Hervey Bay, QLD. Fed MP is Keith Pitt, LNP; State Ted Sorensen, LNP
Caloundra, QLD. Fed MP Andrew Wallace, LNP; State Mark McArdle, LNP
Toowoomba, QLD. Fed MP John McVeigh, LNP; State Trevor Watts, LNP
But they may not be for long, particularly if the federal government continues to play dumb on renewables and instead align itself with the nebulous concepts of “24/7” and fair-dinkum power.
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*This article has been corrected to show that the WA suburb of Mandurah is in a Labor held state electorate, and a Liberal Party held federal seat. It was also corrected to show that the federal member for Hervey Bay is LNP MP Keith Pitt.
Sophie is editor of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and deputy editor of its sister site, RenewEconomy.com.au. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.