Nine reasons to celebrate solar PV in 2018

What a year 2018 has been for solar PV in Australia! Here are nine reasons to celebrate solar as we head into what may well be another record-braking year for photovoltaics…

9. 21.6% of Australian homes have solar PV, the highest rate for residential rooftop PV in the world

Australian households have strongly supported solar photovoltaics (PV) over the past decade as a means to reduce their bills and emissions from electricity consumption, making Australia a world leader in household PV uptake, says Solar Citizens in their new report “Rooftop Real Estate.”

Australia has the highest penetration of residential rooftop PV in the developed world.

Premium feed-in tariffs (that were higher than the electricity retail price) for exported energy from PV systems interacted with dramatic price decreases to create a solar boom in Australian states from around 2010. As PV became increasingly cost-effective over this period, by mid 2013, FiTs were rapidly wound back to be close to the wholesale value of the exported energy, and much lower than the retail price.

While being criticised by ACCC as a cross subsidy, the small-scale incentive (SRES) component of the renewable energy target (RET) has continued to offer valuable support for those households investing in PV and emissions reductions and contributing to our national emissions goals and commitments under the Paris agreement.

As PV prices have continued to fall, and with widespread concern over increasing household electricity prices, PV has remained popular in all states, with rates of installation across the country steady over the past five years until escalating over 2018.

Read more here

8. A year of new solar records

2018 is set to be a record year for solar installation, with over 2.9GW of new capacity installed to end of Q3, the total rooftop count exceeding 2 million and the overall total capacity in Australia surpassing the 10GW milestone in September.

In a year of steady and record-setting installation, September was the month with the highest rate of new registrations, led largely by 668MW of capacity in large-scale (100+KW) projects.

The “Rooftop Real Estate” report, produced by Solar Citizens with UNSW and the APVI, shows that while Queensland and South Australia continue to lead the way in total number of installations, New South Wales has had the highest number of installations in 2018.

Nathan Scholz