Signs of the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns up and down Australia’s east coast are starting to show in the data for rooftop solar installations, with August tallies revealing a nearly 7 per cent drop in the amount of rooftop solar installed on homes and businesses from July to August.
The latest monthly report on the sub-100kW solar market in Australia from industry statisticians, SunWiz, revealed a decrease in installation volumes in all size segments in August, except for the small commercial 15-30kW range which notched up a slight increase.
At the end of the month, a total of 250MW was installed across the country, which is a 6.7 per cent drop on July’s total of 268MW.
SunWiz managing director Warwick Johnston said that the most notable decline was in the 6.3-8kW segment of the market, which was down 7MW on installations compared to July, reflecting a lack of activity in the residential rooftop sector.
“The market is showing signs of a contraction, with a 6.7 per cent drop on volume month on month from July’s 268MW to August’s 250MW,” said Johnston on Wednesday.
Johnston noted that despite the decrease in volume observed from month to month, the market continued to track 16 per cent ahead of where it was the same time last year for registered volume.
Nevertheless, he added, this was :a 2% drop since last month with the growth rate continuing to show a decline (5% decline on the previous month).”
None of this is particularly surprising, in light of the lengthy lockdowns affecting large parts of NSW, and the repeated and extended lockdowns in Victoria.
Restrictions to try to stem the spread of the heavily contagious Delta variant of Covid-19 in these states have meant that rooftop solar installations on all but new-build, uninhabited homes have been prohibited for some or all of the month.
On the commercial front, registered volumes also decreased for all size segments, even though the market favoured larger projects over residential projects, SunWiz said. The above-75kW range showed the greatest percentage decrease since last month.
On a state-by-state basis, NSW (55MW) fell behind both Queensland (67MW) and Victoria (65MW) for the first time since March, 2019, despite both of those states observing a decrease in total installations of their own – both are converging around the 65MW mark, says Johnston.
All states saw a decline in capacity installed within the 15-30kW range except for Victoria, along with the “other states” of the ACT, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
And all states except for South Australia and Victoria also saw a decline in their 30-100kW range. Victoria was the only state to show an increase in commercial volume for both size ranges with its 30-100kW segment continuing to outperform all states.