Record number of rooftop solar panels in Australia

CSIRO

Friday, 14 May, 2021

Record number of rooftop solar panels in Australia

Australia installed its highest ever number of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels in 2020, according to Clean Energy Regulator data analysed by energy efficiency experts from Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO.

The data shows that over 362,000 rooftop solar PV installations were issued with small-scale renewable energy scheme certificates (STCs) under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.

This is an increase of 28% from 2019, when 283,991 installations were issued STCs, with the majority of installs under the scheme being residential and a smaller number for commercial and industrial properties.

Senior Experimental Scientist Michael Ambrose is part of a team that uses a vast array of data to track the progress in residential sustainability efforts.

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

The states with the highest number of solar PV systems installed in 2020 were: New South Wales (with 108,922), Queensland (86,912), Victoria (71,798), Western Australia (47,653) and South Australia (35,599).

Australia has the highest uptake of solar globally. Clean Energy Regulator data shows that more than 2.68 million rooftop solar power systems have been installed in Australia in total, as of 31 December 2020; that means one in four homes have solar panels on their roof.

“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,” Ambrose said.

Clean Energy Regulator’s Executive General Manager Mark Williamson said that 3 gigawatts (GW) of rooftop solar PV capacity was installed nationally in 2020, a 40% increase on the 2.2 GW installed in 2019, and this is trending higher in 2021 with an expected 3.5 to 4 GW of capacity. The growth in capacity has been driven by increasing system size, with the average system now between 8 and 8.5 kilowatts.

“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,” Williamson said.

For more detailed information, visit small-scale installations for each Australian postcode.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Zstock

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