The Australian rooftop solar market is known to be one of the world’s strongest, with the highest penetration of residential solar globally – at around 15% of all homes, according to 2015 figures. However, the market has cooled in 2016, with installation figures coming in below 2015 numbers, and significantly below the targets set by the regulator, to meet Australia’s renewable energy target.
Green Energy Markets figures, released today, have shown reason to hope that may be turning around, with May seeing month-on-month (MoM) growth right across the country. In its monthly Snapshot, the renewable analysts have charted MoM rooftop market growth across all states of more than 10%, with the exception of South Australia that grew at 5% MoM. The average increase over the 12-month average was 3%.
Around 62.3Wp of capacity was added to Australian rooftops in May, bringing the year-to-date total to more than 269 MW. Average rooftop system size so far in 2016 stands at 5.2 kWp.
Small-scale technology certificate (STC) creation is down 8.7% for the first five months of 2016, and 12.9% below the target set by the regulator. STCs are the mechanism by which small-scale solar is incentivized in Australia, and the market clearing house for STCs remains in deficit this year.
Western Australia has seen the most pronounced uptick in rooftop solar installs in May, with almost 11 MW of rooftop PV being installed and its market share for May increasing to 19.6%. On a month-on-month basis, this is an rooftop installation increase of over 40%. Western Australia trailed the more populous east coast states for installs in May with Queensland (14.7 MW/23.4%), Victoria (13. MW/23.2%) and New South Wales (14.25 MW/21.7%) the leading markets by state.
Sungrow expands market share
The Australian PV market has always displayed an openness to Chinese suppliers and has a reputation for being somewhat of a low-cost market. Chinese module and inverter suppliers are well established in Australia.
China’s Sungrow announced yesterday that it has quadrupled its Australian residential inverter shipments in 2015, with over 50 MW supplied. This makes it, claims Sungrow, the largest Chinese inverter supplier to the Australian residential market.
Sungrow reports that sales of inverter/storage hybrid product exceeded expectations, with the product selling out even before shipments began. Sungrow is supplying its SH5K hybrid inverter+battery system to the Australian market. It is introduced its Crystal Series inverter in Australia in 2015.
Sungrow entered the Australian market in 2012. Sungrow President Renxian Cao said that he expected the Australian market to remain stable.
We will keep focusing on the residential solar market in Australia and enlarge the investment in commercial projects in 2016," said Renxian Cao in a statement.
Commercial market continues to grow
The commercial market segment in Australia has shown continued growth over the past two years. While the residential segment still makes up the bulk of solar installs, over 16 MW of commercial rooftop systems were installed in May, up 23.5% YoY.
Green Energy Markets figures reveal that Australia installed some 159 MW of commercial rooftop PV in 2015, from a total rooftop market of almost 714 MW.