The monthly ups and downs of the Australian solar industry have rightly been described as a “solar coaster”.
But there’s one figure that’s risen again and again, without falling since 2010. That’s the average system size. In 2023 it rose to a new record 9.4kW/system.
What’s behind ever-growing system sizes?
Firstly, as panel prices have decreased, people can afford a larger system. In the early days of the solar industry, panels made up the bulk of the price of a system. Nowadays it costs little extra to get a larger system.
(SunWiz subscribers will note consumers are spending the same amount as previously, even as PV systems decline in price-per-Watt, investing the savings into a larger system, albeit using lower-priced brands).
Secondly, it makes sense to maximise your system size. Ever-changing regulations present barriers to upgrading systems at a later date, making it sensible to do it once.
Concerns about limited network PV hosting capacity also make it sensible to maximise your network allocation with a bigger system.
Thirdly, people are planning for the future. Electric vehicles will considerably increase household electricity consumption, as will other electrification efforts. People are putting in a PV system now that will service their future needs.
Finally, commercial PV system volumes have grown faster than residential system volumes. As commercial systems make up a greater proportion of total systems, average system size increases.
The 2024 Annual SunWiz Australian PV Market Report deep dives into the most popular system sizes.
Warwick Johnston is managing director of SunWiz