A recent study conducted by the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) attests to over 76,000 new installations of solar PV systems in the quarter of January to March 2021 alone. In fact, a 12-month reporting lag tells us that the actual number of installations is well over 85,000 in the said quarter. Of these installations, 86% are accounted for by National Electricity Market states, and the remaining 14% by Western Australia.
More interestingly, however, the latest quarterly solar report by the Australian Energy Council reveals an astonishing story that has unfolded in the first quarter of 2021. The installations are on a steady rise, but it isn’t simply that. It’s also the average size of the solar PV systems being installed across Australian households and businesses that’s increasing.
The trend observed in the growth of average capacity of small-scale solar PV systems (<100kW) –
December 2020: 8.86kW
January 2021: 7.85kW
February 2021: 7.75kW
March 2021: 7.74kW
It’s worth noting that the average capacity of solar PV systems for residences and small businesses marks an increase almost every year in December, since 2017, and then undergoes a considerable fall in January, cresting again through the year till it peaks in December.
The above graph clearly delineates the trend of growth in the size of average system capacity. In the case of residential solar systems, the size can be increased subject to the availability of rooftop space, whereas commercial solar offers more flexibility.
The survey also throws light on the number of solar battery installations done in 2021 – 1,400 units. A significant growth, which South Australia and New South Wales contributed to by a majority, 25%, and 23% respectively.
Strangely, Queensland, the state receiving most sunlight, is nowhere near the top when it comes to solar system + solar battery installations, contributing only 11.8% of the total installations across Australia. One may write this off to the relatively poor incentives offered by the state government for solar batteries.
While the trends may deviate a little over the course of a year, the indisputable fact remains – Australia is quickly adapting to solar power to bring down energy bills and gain independence from the grid. Solar proves to be a promising venture and an equally rewarding investment, now more than ever.