By Shannon Steinkamp
Australia is setting its sights on being a large producer of renewable energy as homeowners install 3.5 million solar panels. That means 9,500 panels were installed per day, and these panels will produce the equivalent of a medium-sized coal-powered power plant.
Statistics from the Clean Energy Regulator reports that the 1,057 megawatt capacity of the small systems beat the record previously set in 2012.
According to an Australian energy broker, Solarchoice.net.au, the installation of a 5 kilowatt solar system will cost someone $5,930 in Australian currency. This may seem steep, but the price of systems has fallen by 50% in many cities.
In addition, the size of systems has doubled since 2012, from three to six kilowatts.
According to the executive manager of Clean Energy Regulator, Mark Williamson, the increase in solar panels is a result of homeowners’ interest in their electricity bills. They view it as a way to take control of their bills and the amount of power they use.
“We are seeing a wide cross-section of Australians – households, community centres, schools, and small businesses – receiving incentives under the small-scale renewable energy scheme. Our data shows consumers are embracing renewable energy to take control of their electricity bills,” says Williamson.
Despite the economic focus that’s driving the installation of solar panels, Williamson says it’s a great way to reduce carbon emissions.
There was a 41% increase in the amount of installed renewable energy systems in 2017 versus 2016. The area with the greatest increase was Queensland, where the installed capacity of solar energy panels was 295MW. The Capital Territory of Australia was also responsible for the largest increase of the year. The amount of solar panel systems was up by 57%.
The country of Australia isn’t stopping their use of renewable energy anytime soon. The amount of installed capacity for solar panels systems is expected to rise to 1,070 MW. This is a huge step in moving away from non-renewable resources, and this amount of solar panels is helping Australia decrease their dependence on these dwindling resources.
Williamson believes the trend will continue:
“The data collected by the Clean Energy Regulator in 2017 reflects the industry is going from strength to strength. It looks like 2018 will be another big year for the solar industry.”