Australia has hit a historic milestone – it has reached 25GW of installed solar capacity. As the Australian PV Institute noted on Monday, that’s more solar per capita than anywhere else in the world.
With a population of about 25 million, Australia now has nearly 1kW of PV installed per person – easily retaining its world-leading status.
By the end of 2021, there were more than 3.04 million PV installations in Australia, with a combined capacity of over 25.3GW, the Australian PV Institute noted.
Australia’s solar market has gone through surging periods of growth since the government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme commenced on April 1, 2001. Between 2001 and 2010, the solar market’s growth sat around 15%, before a period of far more rapid growth from 2010 to 2013.
After stabilizing between 2014 and 2015, the market is trending upwards, driven by residential installations. Rooftop solar today plays an important role in Australia’s energy mix, contributing 7.9% to the National Electricity Market (NEM) demand in 2021, up from 6.4% in 2020 and 5.2% in 2019.
According to figures published by the Climate Council in February, renewable energy generation in the National Electricity Market increased by almost 20% in 2021, with renewables supplying 31.4% of electricity generation last year.
In South Australia, these percentages are far more staggering. In the final days of 2021, the state ran for almost one week on renewable energy. South Australia’s 156-hour stint powered by wind, rooftop solar and utility-scale solar farms, firmed by fractional amounts of gas, was considered record-breaking for comparable grids around the world.
Percentage of dwellings with PV
Image: Australian PV Institute