750,000+ Australian Households Have Installed Solar Panels

More than three quarters of a million homes in Australia are now saving on electricity bills through having installed solar panels – and a million Aussie solar households isn’t far off.

Solar households now represent almost 1.7 GW of installed capacity says Professor Ray Wills, chief adviser to the Sustainable Energy Association (SEA).

The impressive tally, gained from data up until the end of March sourced from the Australian Clean Energy Regulator, shows while solar power system installation rates have slowed a little from 2011 when 860 MW capacity was installed, an additional 600 MW of small scale solar capacity is likely to be added this year.

Queensland leads the nation both in terms of installed solar by number of systems and capacity.

A breakdown of each state:

Queensland: 209,217 systems, 475,136 kW capacity
New South Wales: 194,980 systems, 435,739 kW capacity
Victoria: 128,013 systems, 266,736 kW capacity
South Australia: 107,544, 254,149  kW capacity
Western Australia: 104,653, 218,914 kW capacity
Northern Territory: 1,551 systems, 5,140 kW capacity
Tasmania: 7,881 15,666 kW capacity

Professor Wills noted changes in the Solar Credits multiplier sparked an acceleration in installations up to June 2011; with further spikes and troughs caused by changes to solar feed in tariff policies in different states. The most dramatic impact of this was visible in Western Australia where major changes were announced without warning says Professor Wills.

Support for solar changing with little or no notice has been all too common in Australia over the last 4 years. The next state facing possible cuts is Victoria after a review of the state’s feed in tariff arrangements is submitted this Friday.

Given draft recommendations suggested a major reduction in the feed in tariff incentive rate for new applicants, Victorian households yet to make the switch to solar panels may find it prudent to secure a system now in order to lock in the more generous current incentives.