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Australia’s solar PV rooftop installations


Australia is great for rooftop solar PV installations.  Pretty much everywhere you go, particularly in Queensland, you see PV on roofs.

[Solar PV3][1]
Accommodation resort in Townsville, with a pretty impressive installation

In 2014, household and rooftop solar installations under 100kW generated nearly 5,000GWh, accounting for over 2% of total generation or 15% of renewables generation.  There’s over 4GW of small scale solar systems installed as at the end of 2014. In addition, there are over 900,000 solar water heating systems installed too. [CEC, 2014]

I spoke to someone who recently installed the system below in Biloela.  They joined in on the solar craze quite late and are being paid 6.53c/kWh exported to the grid.  They organised a deal with the installer to reduce overall installation costs but expect to have the system paid off in four years (even with the reduced subsidy).  They’re also saving from the get go as they’re paying it off in instalments, so their overall electricity bills have gone down  from the start.  They’re also trying to move some of their electricity usage into the day (dish washers/washing machines), when they can offset their electricity consumption rate, and this is helping them to save even more.

Their parents accessed the subsidy when it was still around 26c/kWh, and they are laughing their way to the bank it seems.

[3kW system installed in Biloela, Queensland][3]
3kW system installed in Biloela, Queensland

In Boonah (I went to all the big towns) I visited a retirement village where there were a number of solar systems installed on the independent living units.  These had been installed on a leasing arrangement, and the systems are still owned and maintained by the original installer.  The residents had been asked if they would prefer to purchase the systems, as they’d make more money over the longterm, but this would require these elderly home owners to maintain the systems.  Considering that many of these were installed when the rebate was still 50c/kWh, it’s unsurprising that most have elected to opt to retain the lease.  The lady I spoke to was making about $100 a quarter which she saves up with the utility, and claims back when it gets to about $400.  This was a story that made me really see the possibly unreported benefits that this rebate has had.

[Solar PV1][4]
Boonah retirement village installation