Record-breaking year for rooftop solar installs

Solar power

Rooftop solar installations have jumped by almost 60 per cent this year, according to new data.

The Green Energy Market’s latest Renewable Energy Index has revealed rooftop installs are 56 per cent higher than last year’s record-breaking rate.

In April, 108MW of rooftop solar was installed, with the monthly average for 2018 sitting at 113MW.

“The amount installed over just these four months will generate more electricity than what is consumed by households in major regional cities like Darwin, Geelong, Newcastle, Toowoomba, or Bunbury,” the report said.

“Given installs tend to lift towards the end of the year, this rate suggests 1400 to 1500MW by the end of 2018 are reasonably likely.

“To put this into perspective, in the time it would take to build a completely new coal power station (at least five years), this rate of solar installations would deliver a combined amount of capacity two and half times larger than Australia’s largest coal generator.”

The report also shows employment in solar installations making up more than a third of the all employment in the electricity generation sector.

“Solar installation is now a major component of the Australian electricity generation sector,” the report said.

“Employment in the design, installation and sales of solar PV so far this year has averaged just under 5500 full-time jobs.

“By comparison the last census recorded 10,268 people employed across the entirety of other power stations in the country.”

Climate Councillor and energy expert Professor Andrew Stock said Australia is one of the sunniest and windiest countries in the world, so the new record comes as no surprise.

“More and more Australian homeowners and businesses are turning to clean, affordable and reliable renewables like solar, harnessing the power of the sun and taking control of their power bills,” Professor Stock said.

“This technology simply makes good economic sense, with renewables such as solar now the cheapest form of new energy generation.

“We’ve got a never-ending and widely available power source at our fingertips, which can cut the nation’s rising greenhouse gas pollution and combined with storage, can provide cheap power across Australia on demand, 24/7.”