Through the roof: 2017 a record year for small-scale solar

Wednesday, 07 March, 2018

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Australian homes and businesses installed more renewable energy capacity in 2017 than ever before, according to newly released data on the Clean Energy Regulator’s Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme.

Figures released by the Regulator reveal that more than 1057 MW of capacity were installed last year — mostly from rooftop solar — beating the previous record of 1035 MW set in 2012. This equates to 3.5 million solar panels being fixed to Australian rooftops, or more than 9500 installed every day.

In 2017, there was a 41% increase in installed renewable energy capacity across all states and territories compared to 2016. Queensland led the way with installed capacity at 295 MW, with the ACT taking top place for biggest annual increase, up 57%.

The data also revealed there was a preference for larger capacity systems in 2017, as reducing costs made these more attractive. The average solar system capacity has doubled in the five years since 2012, from 3 to 6 kW.

Australia has the highest penetration of rooftop solar in the world, with one in five Australian homes having rooftop solar and becoming commonplace for an increasing number of small businesses. Clean Energy Regulator Executive General Manager Mark Williamson said the increasing interest in renewables is good news for reducing carbon emissions.

“We are seeing a wide cross-section of Australians — households, community centres, schools and small businesses — receiving incentives under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme,” said Williamson.

“Our data shows consumers are embracing renewable energy to take control of their electricity bills.”

Overall, the total installed small-scale capacity in Australia currently sits at more than 6000 MW. The Clean Energy Regulator predicts 2018 will see at least another 1000 MW of capacity added to Australian rooftops.

“The data collected by the Clean Energy Regulator in 2017 reflects the industry is going from strength to strength,” said Williamson. “It looks like 2018 will be another big year for the solar industry.”

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