NSW leads nation with record number of rooftop solar PV installs


Australia’s rapid uptake of rooftop solar PV continues unabated with the CSIRO distilling data provided by a handful of agencies, including the Clean Energy Regulator (CER), to reveal more than 362,000 rooftop solar PV installations were installed across the nation last year.

The national science agency said a record 365,740 solar PV installations were issued with small-scale renewable energy scheme certificates (STCs) in 2020 under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.

The figure marked a 28% increase on 2019, when 283,991 installations were issued STCs, with the majority of installs were residential while a small proportion were commercial and industrial properties.

NSW topped the table with 108,922 rooftop solar PV installations in 2020 ahead of Queensland with 86,912. Victorian homeowners installed 71,798 systems while Western Australia (47,653) and South Australia (35,599) rounded out the top five.

Australia installed a record number of rooftop solar PV systems in 2020.

Image: CSIRO

The CSIRO’s analysis also revealed the postcodes where solar PV proved most popular and Victoria led the way with three out of the top five.

Homeowners in the 3064 postcode, which comprises the Melbourne suburbs of Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Mickleham and Roxburgh Park, installed 2,484 systems while residents in the 3029 postcode, covering the suburbs of Hoppers Crossing, Tarneit and Truganina, installed 2,345. The 3977 postcode area, encompassing Cranbourne, Sandhurst and Skye, installed 2.036.

The 2765 postcode area in Sydney was fourth on the list with 1,841 installations while Western Australia’s 6112 postcode, including the Perth suburbs of Armadale, Forrestdale and Bedfordale, installed 1,778 rooftop solar PV systems.

The best performing of the Queensland postcodes was 4553, including the Sunshine Coast suburbs of Caloundra, Currimundi and Moffat Beach, with 1,733 systems installed.

Australia leads the world in PV capacity on a per capita basis.

Image: CSIRO

CSIRO senior experimental scientist Michael Ambrose, who was part of the team that produced the detailed figures, said the data reinforced that Australia has the highest uptake of solar globally with more than 2.68 million rooftop solar power systems installed in Australia as of December 31, 2020.

“The solar PV installation data shows how quickly PV systems have been taken up across Australia and the increasing size of the PV arrays,” he said.

“Australia is one of the sunniest places on the planet. We lead the world in PV capacity on a per capita basis at 591 watts per person which is almost eight times the worldwide average.”

CER executive general manager Mark Williamson said 3 GW of rooftop solar PV capacity had been installed nationally in 2020, a 40% increase on the 2.2 GW installed in 2019. All indications are for another bumper year in 2021 with another 3.5 to 4 GW of rooftop capacity expected.

Williamson said the growth has been driven by increasing system size, with the average rooftop solar PV system now between 8 and 8.5 kW, up from 6.6 kW

“Sustained low technology costs, increased work-from-home arrangements and a shift in household spending to home improvements during COVID-19 played a key role in the increase of rooftop solar PV systems under the SRES,” he said.

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