Western Sydney solar uptake is enjoying a boom, figures from the Australian PV Institute show.
The area includes six of the top 10 spots for solar panel installations in NSW.
And Western Sydney now makes up a quarter of all small-scale solar installations in NSW – that’s 65,000 rooftop solar systems providing almost 300 megawatts.
Solar is also enjoying popularity across the state. More than 380,000 rooftop systems are installed in NSW houses and businesses, statistics show.
Subsequently, these systems provide up to 1300 megawatts of state-wide capacity.
National Energy Guarantee threatens solar uptake
However, the new National Energy Guarantee (NEG) leaves a question-mark over the future of renewable energy in Australia.
The Federal Government has replaced a proposed Clean Energy Target (CET) with the controversial new energy scheme.
So, under the NEG, subsidies for renewable energy projects such as large-scale solar power have been abandoned.
And it’s unclear whether existing rebates for home solar installations will be reduced.
Currently, a standard 3.5 kW system of around 14 or 15 solar panels in Blacktown would attract a Government rebate of $2,278, according to the independent Solar Calculator.
The Federal Government may also use the NEG to reduce solar rebates, making solar installations more expensive.
Solar uptake for CBD lags behind Western Sydney solar
The new solar figures for Western Sydney follow a report showing untapped solar potential in Sydney’s CBD.
The Australian PV Institute report from May 2017 shows just 6.7 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity installed across the CBD. This is only 1 per cent of the city’s solar potential.
The Spatial Analysis of Solar Potential in Sydney report shows about 25 per cent of CBD buildings could house solar panels.
Blacktown, in Western Sydney, is also a member of the Australian Solar Cities program, funded by the Federal Government.
The first Solar City to be nominated in NSW, Blacktown has subsequently taken the lead in promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy uptake.