Australian Average Solar System Capacity Continues Upwards

Small-scale solar power system capacity in Australia - statistics

As small-scale solar power installations proliferate in Australia, also growing is average system capacity.

A report published last Thursday by the Australian Energy Council (AEC) noted the average capacity of small-scale systems (<100kW) reached a new peak of 8.86kW for installations in December last year. Small-scale includes systems not only installed for households, but also for businesses.

Going a bit beyond the AEC’s figures and according to data sourced from the Australian Clean Energy Regulator, the following was the average capacity of small scale systems installed in the first three months of this year.

  • January 2021: 7.85kW
  • February 2021: 7.75kW
  • March 2021: 7.74kW

So, why the drop from December? It appears this has been seasonal phenomenon, particularly apparent since 2017. The AEC notes December has been the peak month for a significant jump in average installed solar system size. This is followed by a significant fall in January and then usually creeping back up as the year progresses, as indicated by this graph from its report.

Average PV system capacity

What the graph also shows is the general trend for system capacity is bigger. In terms of residential solar systems, it will likely ultimately only be halted by available rooftop space; and the increasing uptake of commercial solar may pick up some of the slack.

More Solar System Capacity Stats

Clean Energy Council figures indicate the average system size for all small-scale PV installations that have occurred since 2001 is now a whisker over 5kW; and between 2001 and 2019 it was 4.45kW.

Up to the end of March this year, more than 2,767,311 sub-100kW PV systems had been installed across the country for a collective total of more than 13,860,765kW capacity. Given an estimated population of 25,751,000, this works out to around 538 watts of small-scale solar installed per Australian.

However, what the CER’s figures don’t reveal is how much of this capacity has been decommissioned for whatever reason, and I’m yet to see anyone give calculating an estimation a red-hot go.

Regardless, there are tens of millions of solar panels on the rooftops of homes and businesses across Australia currently generating emissions-free energy and slashing power bills for their owners, systems are getting bigger and there are a lot more to come.

The latest episode of SolarQuotes TV released last week has a special focus on big rooftop solar; discussing why it’s so desirable and what needs to be done in Australia to better support it given the challenges our grid faces. Check out SolarQuotes TV Episode 4 here.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. Seasonal peak in December followed by dropoff in January possibly caused by installer deals encouraging buyers to upscale “before the rebate drops” Michael?

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