Australians install record 3 million small-scale renewable energy systems – CER

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Looking to have better control over their energy costs, Australian homes and businesses have now installed more than three million small-scale renewable energy systems, show the latest data from the Clean Energy Regulator (CER).

The new record comes on the back of a strong solar PV uptake, which gained momentum in 2017 with a record 1057 MW of small-scale rooftop PV registered under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.

“One in five Australian homes now generate their own renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions through rooftop solar,” said CER Executive General Manager Mark Williamson.

According to CER, 63% of the current installs comes from rooftop solar PV – a total of 1,889,264 systems, while the majority of remaining installations comes from solar water heaters (29%) and air source heat pumps (8%).

All put together, the current installed capacity is able to generate or displace around 12.9 million MWh of electricity annually. Out of that number, 72% is generated by solar panel, hydro or wind systems and 28% is displaced by solar water heaters and air source heat pumps.

With a record 839,461 small-scale renewable energy systems installed, Queensland leads the way among the states, followed by New South Wales with 694,154 systems, and Victoria with the third highest number of 636,157 installations.

“Over the past few years we have seen a trend of larger systems being installed as technology advances and prices fall,” Mr Williamson said.

“These larger systems are not just being installed by households. More schools, community groups and businesses are installing systems and seeing the financial and environmental benefits of renewable energy.”

The statement confirms the findings previously reported by CER that over the last five years average rooftop system size had increased from 3 kW to 6 kWp

Introduced in 2001, the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme provides incentives to households and small businesses by issuing small-scale technology certificates for every megawatt hour of renewable energy generated or displaced by an accredited solar panel, wind, hydro system, solar water heater or air source heat pump. It applies to solar systems below 100 kW in capacity.