Australian Small-Scale Solar In 2020: Statistics

Solar power statistics - Australia 2020

Updated data released last week by the Clean Energy Regulator shows it was another corker of a year for small-scale solar power in Australia.

The following indicates the number of new installations, upgrades to existing systems and off-grid systems that had Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) validly created in 2020. STCs form the basis of Australia’s hugely popular “solar rebate“, which is still available in 2021 (and still very generous).

  • ACT: 4,963
  • NSW: 101,224
  • NT: 2,890
  • QLD: 81,201
  • SA: 33,145
  • TAS: 3,068
  • VIC: 62,885
  • WA: 44,602

.. for a total of 333,978. However, a 12 month creation period for STCs applies under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000, so the figures will continue to rise to some degree throughout this year.

2020’s results (so far) are up around 18% on 2019’s total of 283,952 systems. The best years were in 2011 (360,745) and 2012 (343,320), but the average capacity of systems has increased significantly since that time.

2020’s Top Solar Postcodes In Australia

The top ten postcodes for small-scale solar system installations during 2020 were:

Postcode Example localities No. of systems
3064 (VIC) Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Mickleham 2,115
3029 (VIC) Truganina, Hoppers Crossing, Tarneit 2,084
3977 (VIC) Cranbourne, Sandhurst , Skye 1,776
2765 (NSW) Box Hill, Angus, Marsden Park 1,688
6112 (WA) Armadale, Bedfordale, Brookdale 1,653
4551 (QLD) Caloundra, Sunshine Coast, Moffat Beach 1,645
2155 (NSW) Beaumont Hills, Kellyville, Bella Vista 1,605
6065 (WA) Wanneroo, Wangara, Landsdale 1,602
6210 (WA) Mandurah and suburbs 1,559
4670 (QLD) Bundaberg and suburbs 1,523

Given how close some of the numbers are, the rankings may change in the months ahead as straggler systems are registered. It works out these 10 postcode areas accounted for approximately 5% of all installations across Australia in 2020. There are around 2,800 postcode areas in AU and 2,535 recorded solar installations in 2020.

The popularity of small-scale PV in VIC was driven by the ongoing availability of the solar rebate in Victoria, which offers up to $1,850 in addition to the national solar subsidy that can also knock thousands off the up front cost of installing solar panels. According to SQ’s solar calculator, between the two incentives simple payback on a 6.6kW system installed in Melbourne can be achieved in around 3.25 years.

We reported last week December 2020 was the second biggest month ever for completed installations under Victoria’s Solar Homes program since it kicked off in August 2018.

While no SA postcodes made the top 10 for 2020, nor are any likely to, the leading postcode in South Australia at this stage was 5114 (Andrews Farm, Blakeview, Craigmore et al.), with a total of 799 systems.

Across Australia, 2,616,441 kilowatts of small-scale solar power capacity was registered in 2020 – close to 2.62 gigawatts. That’s a lot of power to and from the people!

According to the Clean Energy Regulator, 2,659,839 small-scale PV systems have been installed to date, for a total capacity just shy of 13 gigawatts. To give you an idea of how quickly Australia’s solar energy revolution has evolved in the last decade, there were just 198,208 systems registered at the end of 2010.

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.

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