Rooftop solar market still smashing it, but Covid-19 likely to hit in May

Australia’s rooftop solar market continues to defy the odds, charting its second-highest month of newly installed PV capacity in April of 237MW and passing the 900MW mark for the year so far, just four months into 2020.

The latest data from Green Energy Markets shows Australia’s residential and commercial solar markets continue to “smash it,” flouting forecasts of a Covid-19 slow-down and charting a staggering 56% increase on April 2019 numbers.

Green Energy Markets Tristan Edis says the numbers are particular impressive for April, given it has traditionally been a slower month on the solar calendar due to the Easter break.

“We’ve already passed 900MW for the year and it’s only April,” said Edis on Friday. But he also stressed that the month’s strong showing was unlikely to continue for much longer, and was not indicative of market conditions into the future.

“Firstly the STC data is subject to lags of around two to six weeks between installation and registration for STCs,” he said.

“Also as part of forecasting analysis we’ve been doing for clients we have been surveying a range of industry participants on what they’ve seen since Covid-19 social distancing measures were introduced.

Edis said feedback from industry was that customer enquiries had dropped off substantially – in the ballpark of 25% to 50%.

But he said many installers had about six weeks’ grace before any real hit to business, as they worked through a backlog of existing orders.

“Given these factors, we’ll probably only start to see the COVID-induced drop-off in May registration numbers, with full impact not really evident until June,” Edis said.

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