Australia on track for record year for small-scale solar, says analyst


From pv magazine Australia

While 2023 is still trailing 2021 for small-scale solar installations, the difference is now only 150 MW, or 7%, according to data from Sunwiz. In 2021, the fourth quarter was the most tumultuous three-month period. On the other hand, elevated lead levels and a spike in Google searches suggests that the fourth quarter of this year will contend for the strongest period in 2023.

“I think there’s already a good deal of momentum backed in and that we are going to see elevated levels [of sales],” Warwick Johnston, managing director of Sunwiz, tells pv magazine Australia. “I suspect we are going to have a strong October, so we’re up for a record year.”

Lead volumes this September were up 78% compared to the number of quote requests in September 2021, Sunwiz has found. Many customers are npw turning to Google to find out about installing solar.

“I’m seeing consumer interest levels 10 to 20% up on what they were in the same time of previous year. All this hasn’t yet flowed through to leads proposals and sales,” Johnston said of the spike in Google trends for “solar” and “solar panel.” He said that it's “the highest level it's been … and paybacks [on solar systems] are all improving now, so that bodes well for 2024 as well. My prediction is that we are going to have a strong finish to the year and have a record year for 2023.”

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The average size of solar systems in Australia is also at record high, with especially strong growth in 10 kW to 15 kW systems. “The reason is because you’ve got commercial doing really, really well. Record year for commercial.”

Falling prices

Another interesting trend is that while Australian solar system prices are now falling after the pandemic hike, this has not translated to customers spending less overall.

Total spend on a residential solar system – net customer price by quarter for the last three years.Image: Sunwiz
Image: Sunwiz

This is demonstrated in the above two graphs, with the total dollar customer spend on top and dollars per watt below.

“If you look at the dollar total spend, it’s pretty consistent and flat. So this to me is saying as panels are getting cheaper, people are putting more of them on,” Johnston said.

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