Australia No.1 in the world for installed solar PV capacity per capita


The IEA’s Trends in Photovoltaic Applications 2020 report, released on Thursday, ranks Australia No.1 in the world for installed PV per capita with 644 watts per person.

Australia leads the way from Germany, with 589 watts installed PV capacity per person, and Japan with 500 watts per capita (W/cap). Belgium (425 W/cap) and The Netherlands (396 W/cap) round out the top five.

“Australia has for some years experienced a fast and massive PV development,” the IEA said in the report which covers the market and industry development in the year to the end of 2019.

“It initially started in rooftop applications, especially in the residential segment, and it shifted quite rapidly to utility-scale applications which are now massively developed.

“The businesses that make up the electricity industry have collectively recognised the inevitability of solar power rolling out acrss Australia, and most have opted to play a constructive role.”

While Australia leads the way on a per capita basis, the IEA report revealed China installed the largest amount of PV in 2019.

For the seventh consecutive year China topped the rankings for new installations, rolling out more than 30.1 GW of new projects in 2019, about 29% of all global installations. The United States (13.3 GW) was next with India (10.1 GW), Japan (7.0 GW) and Vietnam (4.8 GW) completing the top five.

Australia was ranked No.6 in the world for new PV installations, installing almost 4.8 GW in 2019, a feat the IEA described as a “tremendous level given the country’s population”.

“Australia is a perfect example of how competitive PV development is an easy task, with penetration levels which are now making the country the global No.1 in terms of PV capacity per capita,” the IEA said.

The IEA said the 112 GW of PV power systems were installed globally in 2019, up from 103 GW in 2018, taking the total installed capacity to more than 623 GW.

China’s impressive 30.1 GW of new installations in 2019 took its cumulative tally to 205.2 GW and ensured it maintained its market leader position in terms of total installed capacity.

Australia ranks No.7 overall for total installed PV with 16.3 GW by the end of 2019 and the uptake shows no signs of slowing with the Australian PV Institute (APVI) revealing the nation is on track to install more than 4 GW of new PV capacity in 2020, for a cumulative total of more than 20 GW.

The report shows that utility-scale PV systems dominated the international market in 2019 but distributed systems, namely on commercial and industrial premises, enjoyed an increase in popularity in many countries, including Australia.

The APVI, which represents Australia in the IEA programs, said the favourable economics of distributed PV systems, particularly when combined with increased self-consumption battery storage, had attracted plenty of interest.

The report also identified floating PV and agri-PV as emerging market segments.

Battery storage was highlighted as another key market element with the IEA rating Australia and the United States as the most mature markets, with 2.7 GWh and 1 GWh installed respectively by the end of 2019.

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