Rooftop solar has delivered another record for Australia in March, with more capacity installed in a single month than in all the years prior to 2010 combined, according to the latest data from solar market analysts, SunWiz.
A total of 181MW was installed in March 2019, Sunwiz says, taking the market two-thirds of the way to the volume reached in 2015 and 2016.
The growth was headed up by activity in Victoria, where – as we report here – the market has been going gang-busters thanks to the state government’s Solar Homes rebate.
SunWiz says the rebate helped Victoria establish a “material lead” over other states over the course of the month, followed by New South Wales, as you can see in the chart below.
Across the rooftop solar sector, the strongest growth occurred in the 6.6kW size class. The report notes that average system size still reflects the hiatus in commercial installations after
the end-of-year surge.
On that end of the scale, SunWiz reports a “cooling off” of the 75-100kW commercial solar market, contrasting with a slight recovery of the 10-20kW category.
And while the report shows a “wane” in commercial volumes in March, SunWiz’s Warwick Johnston notes that “in terms of absolute volumes, commercial has been reasonably steady, it just hasn’t grown as fast as residential.”
This data refers to installations below 100kW, but there is concern that installations of rooftop and ground mounted solar of systems larger than 100kW could be curtailed by new rules that effectively ban “roof monkeys” and anyone not qualified as an electrician to even handle solar panels.
As we reported here, the rules, proposed for the Queensland market only, require the panel mounting, locating, fixing and removal on solar farms to be undertaken by licensed electricians only, and not labourers.
Industry, led by peak body the Clean Energy Council, have immediately bit back against the regulation change, describing it as excessive, unnecessary, and potentially devastating to developers, due to the “large and sharp increase” in electricians that would be required for solar farm construction.
“It’s akin to requiring an electrician to come and plug in your kettle every time you want to make a cup of tea,” said one solar farm developer, who chose to speak on background.