Solar Power Australia 2011-12 Report Highlights

The Clean Energy Council has released its Solar Power Australia 2011-12 report, which states solar panel installations now represent 3.2% of all current electricity generation capacity in Australia.

The CEC report describes 2011 as “prophetic in terms of the industry’s impact on where Australia’s electricity industry is headed.”

Other key points from the report:

– 859MW of solar power systems were installed in 2011 – more than double 2010.

– Total cumulative installed capacity reached 1.29GW at the end of last year.

–  2012 year-to-date installations exceeded 450MW in August.

–  Residential sales continue to dominate installations, capturing more than 95% of the market.

Solar panels are likely to account for 5% of Australia’s hourly generation capacity at certain times.

– Australia’s Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) has stated solar PV is likely to have the lowest cost of all wholesale energy generation technologies by 2030.

– Approximately 17% of suitable house rooftops in Australia have solar panels installed.

– Industry investments reached almost $5B in 2011.

– An estimated 15,550 people were directly and indirectly employed in the PV industry last year.

The report reiterates the busting of the solar is for the rich myth. Over half of system buyers earn less than $100,000 annually and more than a quarter earned less than $65,000 per annum.

While the report recognises the high exchange rate has benefited solar retailers and consumers in terms of cheap solar panels and associated components, it warns this situation could quickly change. Such a scenario isn’t without precedent – for a good part of 2009, a crash in the value of the Australian dollar saw prices for solar power rise dramatically, overwhelming cost savings through manufacturing improvements.

The Clean Energy Council’s Solar Power Australia 2011-12 report, compiled by Solar Business Services and SunWiz, is available for download to CEC members.