Usually Australia is in the news for breaking records around maximum temperatures due to climate change, however there’s cause for celebration with the latest news – rooftop solar installations have jumped almost 60 per cent this year, smashing the previous record set in 2017.
According to the latest Green Energy Market report, there’s been a 56 per cent jump in the rate of rooftop solar capacity installations compared to last year (which itself was a record).
The monthly average is now 113 megawatts of additional capacity, with a total of 452MW. For April there was a total of 15,896 systems installed across the country. Total bill savings for these installations are estimated at $191 million over 10 years.
The authors said that the best was probably yet to come as “installs tend to lift towards the end of the year”, so a total install capacity of about 1500MW of rooftop solar is “reasonable 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-a-half times larger than Australia’s largest coal generator – Eraring,” the report said.
The news flowed through to jobs, too, with one-third of all employment in the electricity generation sector in solar.
“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.”
In the large-scale space there’s 5430MW of projects under construction, and enough work to employ 19,288 people.
Renewable energy in April made up 19.8 per cent of all grid energy, enough to power 8.4 million homes, and avoiding 2.3 million tonnes of CO2.
The news was welcomed by the Climate Council’s Professor Andrew Stock.
“Australia is one of the sunniest and windiest countries in the world, so 2018’s new record comes as no surprise,” he said.
“This technology simply makes good economic sense, with renewables such as solar now the cheapest form of new energy generation.”
The Climate Council’s latest report found that almost half of businesses were incorporating renewable energy to hedge against increasing volatility.