The uptake of rooftop solar PV in South Australia – already the state with the highest penetration of solar PV in the country – surged in the second half of 2013.
According to data provided by electricity distributor Spark Infrastructure, there was 548MW of rooftop solar PV on 157,000 South Australian rooftops as the end of the year. This represents 21.2 per cent of its about 750,000 residential customers.
According to Spark, the total capacity of rooftop solar PV in the state jumped 50 per cent over the year, from 366MW.
But the rate of installations actually doubled in the second half to 121MW, from 61MW in th first half, as the feed in tariff was reduced in September.
South Australia removed a 16c/kWh payment made through the networks in September, meaning that new households connections would receive only 9.8c/kWh for electricity exported to the grid.
That price has since fallen to 7.6c/kWh, as a result of falling wholesale prices (courtesy of South Australia’s large renewable contribution and falling demand), and will fall further to 6c/kWh when and if the carbon price is removed).
Rob Stobbe, the CEO of SA Power Networks, the South Australian business of Spark, said the average size of the rootop solar PV systems has doubled to 4MWh from 2MWh, and the other interesting trend is the uptake by commercial users.
“If you look at trends overseas, it is starting to happen here, and that is the move from residential to commercial installations,” Stobbe told an analysts briefing on Monday.
“There is no doubt that once (rooftop solar PV) starts getting into commercial installations, it will have quite an impact (on the market.)” He said demand side management, such as battery storage, would also impact on customer use and pricing. It has already had an impact on deferring the peak by several hours and helping stabilise the grid during the recent heatwave.