Australians are loving solar power more than ever, and we are not just talking about opinion polls and sentiment; the proof is in the numbers. Small-scale renewable energy has hit ‘record-breaking capacity’: homes and businesses have collectively reached a mighty 6000 MW, enough to power more than 1.8 million homes which equates to every home in Sydney. Announcing the news last week the Clean Energy Regulator described the latest milestone as “remarkable”.
We agree it’s great news, and acknowledge the hard work of solar installers across the land.
There are now almost 2.8 million small-scale installations in Australia, with Queensland boasting the largest uptake of systems under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.
Collectively the solar installations now have the capacity to generate or displace approximately 11.2 million MWh of electricity each year, CER Executive General Manager Mark Williamson said.
It’s not just about the big numbers, that amount of electricity would otherwise be derived from fossil fuel sources. Displacing a massive 11.2 million MWh does much to contain Australia’s emissions which remain the highest per capita in the world. Ironically Australia also lays clam to the highest levels of rooftop PV per capita.
“More than one in five Australian households now have solar panels installed on their roof, and that’s the highest rate per capita in the world,” Williamson said.
“We’ve also recorded a trend in larger systems being installed over the past few years, with the average capacity of a system increasing by 12 per cent from 2015 to 2016.”
Williamson says more households, schools, community groups and businesses are looking to install solar panel systems, and that prices are reducing which enables families to invest in larger systems.
For the benefit of those less familiar with the industry, the CER explained that the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme provides incentives to households and businesses by issuing small-scale technology certificates for every megawatt hour of renewable energy generated or displaced by an accredited solar panel, wind, hydro system, solar water heater or air source heat pump.
Small-scale systems include capacity of up to 100 kilowatts, or about 20 times the size of the average household system.
The CER provides more details that allow people to calculate the number of small-scale technology certificates a system may be eligible for using the small generation unit calculator and solar water heater calculator.
More information is available about the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, including the full small-scale renewable energy installation data set.
Following is an infographic produced by the Climate Council in its report Renewables Ready: States leading the charge highlighting PV’s most popular postcodes.
Read more about the Climate Council report findings in Spring Solar & Storage magazine.