Rooftop solar

The latest Clean Energy Australia Report shows that rooftop solar continues to be a significant contributor to Australia’s renewable energy sector – accounting for 25.8 per cent of total renewable energy generation in 2022. 

The report also indicates that 310,000 new rooftop solar systems, with a total capacity of 2.7GW, were added to the grid in 2022, and more than 3.4 million Australian homes are now equipped with rooftop solar.

Rooftop solar is the foundation of Australia’s renewable energy success and continues to position Australia as a global leader in solar power. Every day Australians are harnessing the sun’s power to keep their energy bills low and take direct action on climate.

Key stats from the Clean Energy Australia 2023 Report:

  • Rooftop solar provided more than a quarter (25.8 per cent) of total Australian renewable generation in 2022
  • New capacity added totalled 2.7GW from 310,352 new rooftop solar installations.
  • The average solar system size continued its trend of increasing year-on-year, rising from 8.79kW in 2021 to 8.84kW in 2022
  • Estimates suggest over 50,000 household battery systems were installed in 2022, up from 34,731 in 2021
  • The number of Clean Energy Council-accredited designers and installers grew by 3.5 per cent to 8988
  • 2257MW of new large-scale renewable generation capacity completed construction and was added to the grid across 20 projects.
  • The rooftop solar sector added 2.7GW of new capacity from 310,352 households and small businesses.
  • 4.6GW of onshore wind projects either commenced construction or were financially committed
  • 1380MW/2004MWh of large-scale batteries were under construction at the end of 2022, a significant increase in capacity compared to 2021: 921MW/1169MWh
  • Year-to-year investment in the clean energy industry for large-scale projects rose 17 per cent from 2021, at $6.2 billion in 2022
  • 28 renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) were finalised in 2022, directly contracting around 1600MW – the largest volume since the emergence of corporate PPAs in 2016

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton, said rooftop solar is playing a massive role in decarbonising the Australian energy grid and putting us on the path to 82 per cent renewable energy by 2030. 

“While much of the political and big policy debates are taking place for other renewable energy industries – all of which are vitally important – rooftop solar has been doing and continues to do a lot of the heavy lifting,” Mr Thornton said.

Another 310,352 households and small businesses installed a rooftop solar system in 2022, with over approximately 3.4 million Australian homes now helping to reduce pressure on the energy grid during the summer peak and playing a pivotal role in keeping local economies moving.

“There were challenges for the industry in 2022, but our workforce showed its resilience in the face of higher polysilicon prices, a reduction in subsidies and other supply chain issues,” Mr Thornton said.

“The number of Clean Energy Council-accredited designers and installers also continued to grow for the seventh year running, with 8988 individuals demonstrating industry best practice standards, producing safe, reliable systems and meeting customer expectations.

“If Australia is chasing a target of 82 per cent renewable energy generation by 2030, the good news is that rooftop solar is continuing to do the heavy lifting adding around 3.5TWh per year. The challenge is now to maintain this pace right through to 2030. Low-cost renewable power and energy storage will ultimately ease cost-of-living pressures and help set up Australia for a more prosperous future with greater energy security.”

Investors are also responding to the need for more energy storage, with 19 large-scale battery projects under construction, with combined capacity of those projects (1380MW/2004MWh) significantly higher than the previous year (921 MW/1169MWh).

Renewable energy accounted for 35.9 per cent of Australia’s total electricity generation in 2022, up from 32.5 per cent in 2021. Australia has more than doubled the amount of renewable energy since 2017 when renewable energy accounted for just 16.9 per cent of generation.

“There’s significant cause for optimism at a time when aging fossil fuel-based generators are retiring,” Mr Thornton said.

“Large-scale clean energy investment reached $6.2 billion in 2022, a 17 per cent increase from 2021.”

Mr Thornton said the final quarter of 2022 saw investment in financially committed large-scale generation and storage projects reach $4.29 billion, the second-highest quarterly result since data collection began in 2017.

“Australia’s energy mix will undoubtedly now be the beneficiary of greater policy clarity, with climate change and the clean energy transition areas of genuine focus federally, with sensible and ambitious policies. However, we cannot take the sustained growth of renewable energy for granted,” Mr Thornton said.

“To reach the Federal Government’s renewable energy generation target of 82 per cent by 2030, the pace of deployment for new large-scale projects needs to at least double.”

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