Australia’s rooftop solar market has again defied forecasts of impending gloom (not quite doom), with installed volume charting upwards for the second month in a row in March, as homes and businesses continue to invest in cleaner, cheaper energy.
The latest monthly report from industry statisticians, SunWiz, shows installations continuing to recover momentum after a slow start to the year, with another 234MW of sub-100kW PV systems installed around the nation, taking the total for the year so far to around 630MW.
That’s an 8.3% increase in volume month-on-month from February (216MW) to March, but not enough of an increase in momentum to keep the market ahead of 2020 volumes, SunWiz said. And compared to this time last year, the market remains 24% below figures from March 2021.
The upward momentum of rooftop solar installs was mirrored in every state except for NSW, which after a big February had a relatively flat month in March, as the chart below illustrates. Victoria and Queensland marked the biggest month-on-month upticks in volume, with 11% each.
According to SunWiz’s data, there are currently more than 3.1 million rooftop solar systems installed totalling in Australia within the federal government’s small-scale renewable energy scheme (SRES) – a total of around 17.5GW.
SunWiz says the average rooftop solar system size for this year’s range is currently sitting ar around 8.57kW, with the 6.3-8kW range remaining the most popular within the residential market.
SunWiz managing director Warwick Johnston noted that the last three years have shown an uptrend in demand in the 10-15kW range, while the 6.3-8kW range has been trending down over the last 12 months.
“All states except for Queensland (which held steady) and WA (which decreased) observed an increase in average system sizes over March 2022,” Johnston said.
As for the market outlook, the Johnston says the Clean Energy Regulator, which oversees the SRES, is still forecasting a choppy year for small-scale solar, with installed capacity volumes expected to fluctuate over coming months.