The Australian solar coaster is in full effect, with a total of 285MW of new rooftop PV capacity added in November, delivering the year’s second-highest monthly peak in installations just a month after one of the lowest troughs for the year.
Industry analysts SunWiz said the nearly 20 per cent month-on-month increase in installations (18.2%) from October’s 241MW result had taken the market to its highest point in the year since March, and just a sniff away from the passing last year’s milestone total of 3GW.
The upward momentum was a feature in all segment sizes from 1-100kW and across all states and territories, too – except for the NT – With SunWiz noting at least ~15% increase in month-on-month volumes across the nation.
The month’s numbers bring a welcome lift in what has been a wild ride in 2021, as increasingly dire reports emerge from the rooftop solar industry around scarcity of panels and, for those they can get their hands on, increasingly expensive.
Australian panel manufacturer Tindo Solar said last week that the global supply crunch had led to an “overwhelming number of inquiries” from increasingly desperate local installers looking for spare stock for jobs.
“We’ve been fielding calls for more than a month, with solar installation companies desperate for panels,” Tindo CEO Shayne Jaenisch told RenewEconomy.
“Not only are they faced with not enough panels to fulfil their installations, but the panels they can buy are 30 to 50 per cent more expensive than they were mid-year.”
Last month, Johnston said this the dip in installations for October could be largely attributed to a slowdown in installs in the residential segment (6.3-8kW) which had been “affected significantly” by various market headwinds.
This month, however, that same segment was among two pinpointed by Johnston as showing the most notable month-on-month increase in volume registered, alongside the 10-15kW segment.
On a state-by-state basis, New South Wales continues to lead on monthly installation rates, jumping from 72MW installed in October to 85MW in November, perhaps as a result of getting back into the swing of business-as-usual after a lengthy Covid lockdown.
Queensland retains second place, with its own impressive jump from 57MW installed in October to 70MW installed in November – nearly back up to its September levels of 72MW. Victoria follows next with 59MW installed in November, up from 51MW in October.
In the bigger picture, SunWiz managing director Warwick Johnston says the market continues to show a marked lead (12%) over the same time last year, while this lead is also continuing to show a slow decline of another 1% for November.
While at the rooftop level, the SunWiz stats show another increase in average rooftop system sizes, for the third month in a row, to 8.87kW over the month of November, possibly driven by an increase in the proportion of larger commercial projects in most states.
All told, the total rooftop solar capacity installed around Australia at the end of November has jumped passed the 16GW mark, up from 13GW at the end of 2020 and the market is still headed for a new record of more than 3GW of installs for the year.