In the first quarterly report for 2019 conducted by analysts at Green Energy Markets, it was reported that Australian rooftop solar installations continue to exceed expectations.
During the March quarter, there was almost a 50% increase in the number of small scale rooftop solar installations throughout the country compared to the same quarter for last year. This equated to a total of 482MW of systems 100kW or less being installed on Australian rooftops for this period.
A large portion of these rooftop installations were completed in Victoria, which has since overtaken both Queensland and New South Wales as the leader in rooftop PV capacity. This rapid rise to the top in Australia’s rooftop PV installation charts can be in part attributed to the state government’s introduction of a residential $2,250 rebate.
This surge in rooftop solar is also a reflection of households’ and businesses’ desire for cheaper electricity. Based on current electricity prices, the 482MW of solar installed in the March quarter would provide an $850 million reduction in power bills over the next 10 years.
The fact that the installation rate rises towards the end of the calendar year, combined with the current uptake, indicates that small scale solar installed in 2019 will surpass 2,000MW. Based on the previous year, the continuation of households and businesses installing rooftop solar in 2019 is no surprise. In 2018 alone, rooftop solar PV increased by approximately 33% compared to the previous year.
Furthermore, Green Energy Markets analysis reports that if this rate of installation were to continue until 2022, this alone will exceed the energy generation from the Liddell coal fired power station, which is expected to shut down that year.
This national shift away from coal in recent years is reflected in Australia’s energy generation; throughout March, approximately 19.7% of the country’s main grids were supplied with energy from renewable sources, or the equivalent power usage of around 9.5 million homes. This is unsurprising, with a study from the CSIRO earlier this year reporting that renewables are the cheapest source of new-build energy.
However, if energy policy remains unclear then the renewable sector is at risk of slowing down. This will not only impair the global effort to stem the impacts of climate change, but will also risk jobs created by the renewable sector.
For the first time, large scale renewable energy construction jobs have surpassed 20,000. Again, Victoria is streaks ahead in this area, accounting for almost 40% of these jobs. The success of Victoria in encouraging households and businesses to invest in solar and the creation of jobs in this sector prove that government intervention heavily impacts uptake of solar.
Although the uptake in small scale solar is good news for emissions reduction, above expected installations of solar systems under 100kW may cause the federal small scale solar rebate to decrease significantly in value, as it did in August 2017. Therefore, if you are thinking of installing solar energy at your facility, contact one of our senior representatives using the form below, who will advise you about government rebates available.