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Australia’s Solar Revolution: Key Drivers Behind the Surge in Installations in 2023

Australia’s Solar Revolution: Key Drivers Behind the Surge in Installations in 2023

Last updated on June 17, 2024

In 2023, Australia experienced unparalleled growth in the installation of rooftop solar PV systems unlike anything it had seen before. According to the Clean Energy Council, a record number of 20 GW was installed across the country in the said year alone!

Achieving such an impressive milestone established Australia as one of the top global leaders in the adoption of residential solar and a major player in the ongoing clean energy transition. 

But what was responsible for this spectacular growth? This article discusses the primary drivers behind Australia’s solar revolution during the year 2023, so read on to learn more.

Government rebates and loans for solar

The Australian Government, both at the federal and state level, has been instrumental in pushing towards the Australian solar revolution.

It has provided various incentives such as subsidies, rebates and loan options that have helped Australians pay for rooftop solar or battery installation in their houses or businesses.

Some examples of federal and state initiatives are detailed below.

Federal Government Solar Incentives

  • Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES)

Through SRES, the national government is helping Aussies install small-scale renewable energy systems like solar panels.

Those who install such systems receive STC rewards based on the amount of renewable energy produced by their PV systems. These STCs can be sold to liable parties such as electricity retailers and utilities, thus cutting down on the initial purchase and installation costs.

➤ State, Territory and Local government or Council Schemes

Australians also have various solar system subsidy schemes to explore depending on their state or territory. Some of the main ones include:

  • New South Wales (NSW)

The government in NSW lends residents money to help them install solar systems. The loans are given under the Empowering Home Program and bear no interest, meaning only the same amount borrowed needs to be repaid. 

Residents installing a PV system with storage get up to $14000 while those installing only the storage unit only get up to $9,000.

  • Victoria

In Victoria, the Solar Homes Program can help any resident looking to go solar. It extends loans with zero interests where residents can acquire $8,800 if purchasing solar batteries. There’s also a rebate worth $1400 on PV. 

  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

In the ACT, residents benefit through the Solar for Low-Income program. It gives qualifying Australians half the price of a rooftop system or $2,500, whichever is lower. 

In the same state, there is also the Next Generation Energy Storage Program by the government.

Under this program, residents can qualify for up to $3,850 (or half cost) in rebates on batteries. With batteries cheaper than ever before, Australians can install a solar power storage system to combat rising electricity bills. 

  • Northern Territory (NT)

The Northern Territory’s Home and Business Battery Scheme makes solar acquisition and installation affordable. Qualified applicants can be granted up to $400 per kWh usable capacity of the battery system with the highest grant being not more than $5,000. 

  • South Australia (SA)

Residents in South Australia can purchase and install quality PV systems with the help of the Home Battery Scheme. It offers residents a maximum of $3,000 to buy these systems making them more affordable.

Environmental Awareness 

The need to conserve the environment has also seen more Australians going solar.

As a renewable source, a PV system creates clean electricity from sunlight. It completely eradicates the need to burn fossil fuels thus reducing emissions normally associated with conventional energy sources.

The Solar Market Australia supports this claim in their report which states that using solar energy power in Australia can cut down greenhouse gas emissions by 1.75 – 2.05 tonnes per annum.

This potential reduction of greenhouse gases is one reason why many nature-conscious Australians opt for solar as an alternative source of energy.

In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, most Australians prefer solar power because it saves water in one of the driest countries worldwide.

Solar photovoltaic cells do not rely on water in any way to produce electricity, hence saving this scarce commodity. Panels only require rainwater (to wash them) after becoming dirty over time!

On the contrary, generating electricity from fossil fuels requires a huge volume of water for cooling generators, processing and refining fuel and transporting fuel through pipes.

For instance, in Qld and NSW where coal is the main fuel for generating electricity, about 383 billion litres of water are needed yearly in coal mining and coal-powered power stations as per Moerk Water.

It’s estimated that these power stations themselves use about 160 ML of water yearly and this puts the available resources at risk considering Australia is among the driest continents in the world.

Loans from Commercial Organisations

Besides the government efforts detailed above, commercial organisations have also made it possible for Australians to go solar by availing products like:

  • Green loans

A green loan is a loan offered specifically to finance environmentally friendly products, such as electric vehicles, water tanks and rooftop solar.

  • Solar leasing

Various organizations in Australia are offering solar leasing services whereby they fund the supply and installation of a home or business solar system at no upfront cost to consumers. Australians then pay for the cost of overtime – say 5 to 10 years. 

  • SPPA (Solar Power Purchase Agreement)

Based on a solar power purchase agreement, the solar retailer will deploy and take care of household or commercial solar systems by financing this service.

Australians do not own the system they just have it on loan from the installer and are only required to compensate the solar retailer at a specified rate (c/kWh) for the consumed electricity.

  • Interest-free Finance 

Interest-free finance from a solar retailer is another reason why the number of rooftop solar installations in Australia has increased. Under this scheme, organisations lend enough funds to cover the purchase and installation of solar systems allowing Australians to repay those over time at zero interest. 

Falling Prices and Technological Advancements

The decrease in the price of solar panels and fast-growing technology has encouraged people to adopt this kind of energy. Today, solar panels boast more impressive efficiency in power generation, longer lives, and sleek design, which makes them perfect for household applications. 

Furthermore, the availability of cheap home tech and energy storage solutions makes it possible to harness solar energy effectively hence more Australians are veering towards it.

As reported by the International Renewable Energy Agency,  the price of solar systems has fallen by as much as 85% in 10 years. So, now it is much more affordable for Aussies to shift to solar energy.

Solar Potential in Australia 

The abundant sunlight in Australia and its vast area make this country an excellent place to exploit solar energy. Many regions have more than 300 sunny days annually which makes it possible to effectively utilize solar energy electricity.

Besides, the country has an average solar radiation of 58 million petajoules a year as per the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Consequently, residents are reassured that solar systems won’t fail here, so they install them more confidently.

The Rising Cost of Electricity 

The soaring electricity costs in Australia due to inflation and network upgrades as well as the volatility of the global energy market make electricity bills a burden to many households.

According to Parliament of Australia, the price of electricity has gone up by 72% during the last ten years, putting serious financial pressure on consumers. Many Australians find themselves forced to resort to solar power as a viable cut-in solution to address this increase in costs.

Household solar installations help people produce their electricity hence decreasing dependence on the grid and resulting in long-term savings on power bills. Goal Solar stated that Australians save around $400 per year, per kW on their electrical bill after they switch over to solar systems. 

Convenience 

Many Australians are shifting to solar power not only for economic reasons but rather for the practical benefits it offers such as lowering the impact of blackouts.

Solar systems that come with battery storage can store excess generated electricity for later use during grid instabilities or outages so that there is a continuous power supply. 

Additionally, such solar systems prevent disconnections tied to financial issues and as a result, provide users with full control of their energy usage and generation. On top of that, users avoid the stress of electricity price fluctuations.

Competitive Market Landscape

Finally, the fact that Australia’s solar market is highly competitive plays a major role in lowering prices and pushing innovation forward .

The many manufacturers, suppliers and installers who compete for customers create an atmosphere that is very conducive to PV system development. Companies are under pressure to offer good quality products and excellent customer service as well as to find ways to be different from their competitors.

This makes it possible for consumers to get lower prices, better product offerings as well and financing solutions adapted to their specific needs system.

Wrapping Up

Although solar energy adoption seems to have peaked in 2023, there’s still more to be expected.  As the government strives to attain net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and Aussies seek a break from costly utilities, we will definitely see another boom soon.

Experts in the industry forecast that the installed solar capacity will expand at a phenomenal rate. It could be somewhere near 80 GW by 2030 and may even top 100 GW in the next twenty years as per Global Data.

These projections show that solar energy might completely redefine Australia’s main energy source and highlight its position as one of the world leaders in the generation of renewable power.

Without any doubt, following this path will result in a much cleaner more affordable power supply in the future for everyone across the country.

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E-Green Electrical

E-Green Electrical is a top tier energy efficiency company based in Sydney. We focus on utilising government rebates to help reduce our clients energy consumption by installing energy efficient solutions. E-Green boasts a rich heritage within the realm of energy efficiency, consistently staying up to date with cutting-edge technologies to deliver optimal results for our valued customers.

We don't just sell products and services; we also provides tips and information on how to help reduce energy consumption. We believe in using energy wisely and teaching others how to do the same. For E-Green, it’s important to share knowledge with the community. That's why we regularly write articles about saving energy, new government rebates available and increasing sustainability.

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