Australia installs 2.13 GW of rooftop solar in 2019

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With no sign of subsiding in sight, Australia’s rooftop PV uptake is going from strength to strength driven by high electricity prices and falling costs of solar. According to industry analyst SunWiz, 2019 was a record year with 2,132 MW of sub-100-kW solar systems installed on Australian homes.

The 2019 tally represents a 35% year-on-year increase from 1,576 MW, following 46% growth the previous year (1,076 MW) and 50% the year before that (719). This means that Australia now hosts three times the volume registered in 2016.

SunWiz attributed the remarkable growth to concurrent record volumes installed in every Australian state except Tasmania, noting that this bodes well for the start of 2020. “Our success in 2019 wasn’t dependent upon any one state (indeed it would have been higher if Victoria hadn’t switched on the brakes mid-year),” the analysts said.

Every state other than Victoria and Tasmania ended off the year registering a record volume of PV in December. The boom is not expected to end any time soon with the Australian Energy Market Operator expecting rooftop PV to produce 25% of Australia’s electricity by 2040.

Overall, there is 10 GW of small-scale PV sitting on Australian rooftops. This equals 40 million solar panels with about 6.4 million installed in 2019 alone. The greatest uptake is seen in the Sunshine State of Queensland (2,921 MW), followed by New South Wales (2,409 MW) and Victoria (1,991 MW).

Small scale rooftop solar is defined as installations of 100kW or less which are eligible for an upfront rebate that reduces in value each year. The current policy envisages phasing out the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) by 2030 notwithstanding the calls to prematurely wind down taxpayer-funded incentives for sub-100kW solar systems.

The SRES program has been instrumental is Australia’s rooftop PV boom offering a subsidy called Small-scale Technology Certificate, or STC, the current value of which stands at around $37. Today, over 2.25 million Aussie rooftops are covered with solar, according to SunWiz.