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Nearly 1 million Australian solar PV arrays installed

12th Feb 2013

Australian rooftop solar power is nearing a historic milestone, with 956,193 photovoltaic arrays installed as at January 31 this year.

By my count, that's nearly a million. The data comes from the Clean Energy Regulator which recently made information available about systems installed under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.

Energy Matters was helpful enough to parse the data and further reported yesterday (February 11) that more than 300,000 small scale PV systems have been installed under the scheme since the end of 2011.

The true current level of rooftop solar PV installation is likely to be even higher, as RET legislation allows a 12-month creation period for Small-scale Technology Certificates.

Nonetheless, Energy Matters reports that the current tally represents 2,308,026 kW of solar power capacity. This would satisfy the average electricity needs for roughly 450,000 Australian homes.

And as we approach what should be considered a historic achievement, worldwide PV installation continues its rapid expansion.

The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) reported this month that global cumulative solar PV electricity capacity surpassed 100 GW in 2012.

This was due to an estimated 30 GW being connected to the grid last year - roughly equalling the impressive growth seen in 2011.

EPIA president Winfried Hoffmann said that surpassing 100 GW of solar PV capacity by the end of 2012 is something that no one could have predicted would happen.

"The photovoltaic industry clearly faces challenges but the results of 2012 show there is a strong global market for our technology," said Mr Hoffmann in a statement.

"Even in tough economic times and despite growing regulatory uncertainty, we have nearly managed to repeat the record year of 2011."

Industry website recently reported the results of an analysis of worldwide PV installations by market research firm IHS.

The research (published in an article on January 25) showed that the trajectories of PV installation growth and industry revenue do not look the same.

In fact, the average selling price of solar panel systems is set to continue its decline in 2013 after falling during each of the last two years.

"The conflicting trend of growing PV installation volumes accompanied on the other hand by falling revenues will challenge solar companies to continue to reduce their cost structures," said Ash Sharma, director of syndicated solar research for IHS.

This is of course great news for the solar consumer and for the future of PV expansion.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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