Analyst predicts 2023 will finish a record year for small-scale solar

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While 2023 is still trailing 2021 for small-scale solar installations, the difference is now only 150 MW, or 7%, data from Sunwiz shows. In 2021, Q4 was the most tumultuous quarter. On the other hand, elevated lead levels and a spike in Google searches suggests Q4 will contend for 2023’s strongest period.

“I think there’s already a good deal of momentum backed in and that we are going to see elevated levels [of sales],” Warwick Johnston, Managing Director of Sunwiz, tells pv magazine Australia. “I suspect we are going to have a strong October, so we’re up for a record year.”

Lead volumes this September were up 78% compared to the number of quote requests in September 2021, Sunwiz has found. Moreover, proactive customers are turning to Google to find out about installing solar.

“I’m seeing consumer interest levels 10 to 20% up on what they were in the same time of previous year. All this hasn’t yet flowed through to leads proposals and sales,” Johnston said of the spike in Google trends for “solar” and “solar panel.”

“That’s the highest level its been,” Johnston added. “And paybacks [on solar systems] are all improving now, so that bodes well for 2024 as well.”

“My prediction is that we are going to have a strong finish to the year and have a record year for 2023.”

The average size of solar systems in Australia is also at record high, with especially strong growth in 10 kW to 15 kW systems. “The reason is because you’ve got commercial doing really, really well. Record year for commercial.”

Falling systems prices not eroding customer spend

Another interesting trend is that while Australian solar system prices are now falling after the Covid pandemic hike, this has not translated to customers spending less overall.

Total spend on a residential solar system – net customer price by quarter for the last three years.

Image: Sunwiz

Trend in $/W spent on a residential solar system.

Image: Sunwiz

This is demonstrated in the above two graphs, with the total dollar customer spend on top and dollars per watt below. “If you look at the dollar total spend, it’s pretty consistent and flat. So this to me is saying as panels are getting cheaper, people are putting more of them on,” Johnston said.

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