A sea of solar rooftops has formed across Australia, with uptake driven not by large companies developing major solar farms; but by households looking to slash their electricity bills by installing solar panels.
Analysis performed by SunWiz shows 1.2 million homes now have solar panel systems – approximately 14% of dwellings in Australia.
Queensland has the largest number (360,000) and capacity (986MW), with South Australia being the state with the highest saturation (25%).
While there has been a substantial drop in the number of installations in the last 18 months, households are continuing to join the rooftop revolution as affordability is better than ever.
“The consumer is getting a bargain, and using the low prices to up-size their system to now average 4.3kW in capacity, and the most popular system size has leaped from 1.5kW to 3kW or 5kW depending on which state you live in,” says SunWiz.
It’s not just households increasingly cottoning on to the fact solar power systems provide power cheaper than from the mains grid. Commercial solar is also taking off, with 5% of recently installed systems larger than 8kW capacity.
The Clean Energy Council says that according to figures from the Clean Energy Regulator, the 3 gigawatts of solar power installed will generate more than 4000 gigawatt-hours of electricity over the next year.
National solar provider Energy Matters says the systems will collectively save owners over $1.1 billion on their electricity bills a year based on current electricity prices – or more than $3 million a day.
In addition to helping to rein in the price of wholesale electricity, these solar power systems will also significantly reduce strain on mains grid infrastructure during the most energy intensive time of the year – the summer months when air-conditioning places massive demand on networks.
More than $11 billion has been spent on energy infrastructure in Australia that is only used four days out of every year – primarily due to the impact of air-conditioners.