There was record solar installations nationwide with over 9,500 solar panels a day installed on Australian household rooftops in 2017, according to data from the Clean Energy Regulator (CER). This represents over 1,050 megawatts (MW) of total capacity – and is expected to increase during 2018.
The data also showed a doubling of the size of solar systems since 2012. This is most likely due to the increasing affordability of solar installations.
The CER publishes monthly figures on small-scale renewable energy installations. The figures show there are now approximately 1.8 million small-scale solar power systems installed across Australia. The combined capacity of these systems is around 6,500 MW. (By comparison, in 2001 there were only 118 installations.)
Many Australian households are seeking out the best solar quotes and are installing solar systems to control their energy costs. Australians are also embracing energy storage batteries. The data shows a staggering increase of around 164 per cent from 2016 to 2017. As the price of batteries continues to fall, installations are likely to accelerate.
Record solar installations: Where is the growth highest?
Queensland is leading the way when it comes to solar power, followed by NSW and Victoria. The A.C.T. however had the highest jump in installations last year, at close to 60 per cent.
The CER has also collected data on solar installations by postcode. The data indicates many regions across Australia have experienced substantial solar installation growth over the years. Here are a few examples of growth in 2017 compared to the 2001-2016 (annualised) period:
- Bondi NSW, postcode 2026 – 78 per cent increase.
- Eltham Victoria, postcode 3095 – 94 per cent.
- New Farm Queensland, postcode 4005 – 88 per cent.
- North Adelaide SA, postcode 5006 – 124 per cent.
- Canberra ACT, postcode 2600 – 37 per cent.
Substantial fall in solar power cost
Climate Council reports also show solar power costs fell 60 per cent over the 5 years to 2016. Predictions are that costs will continue to fall by up to 70 per cent by 2040. All indications are that solar power is becoming cheaper to produce than energy from either fossil fuels or nuclear.
Other predictions are that about one-third of Australia’s power will come from solar PV within the next 20 years.
The Climate Council also said Australian homes are “leading the world” when it comes to solar installations – a trend that will hopefully continue into the future.