At the end of 2018, Australian solar rooftop power capacity had reached a total of 8.1 GW which a new study claims can go up to 179 GW. (Source: How much Rooftop Solar can be Installed in Australia? Report for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Property Council of Australia)
- A study commissioned by the CEFC and Property Council of Australia claims Australia has potential for 179 GW of rooftop solar power capacity
- The annual clean power generation from this capacity could be as high as 245 TWh
- Most of this potential lies in residential zones, followed by primary/rural production zones, and commercial and industrial zones
- New South Wales holds the highest solar potential with 49 GW, followed by 45 GW in Victoria, 37 GW in Queensland and 23 GW in Western Australia, among other states
Australia has more than 2 million rooftop solar systems with a total installed capacity of 8.1 GW and counting. But its technical rooftop solar potential is much, much higher at 179 GW, which would translate into 245 TWh of clean power annually, according a study commissioned by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Property Council of Australia.
The study has been prepared by the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney, Australian PV Institute and the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
Titled ‘How Much Rooftop Solar Can Be Installed In Australia?’ the study says the country is currently using less than 5% of the potential capacity for rooftop solar. Around half of this unused potential lies in residential zones, followed by 34 GW in primary/rural production zones while commercial and industrial zones are expected to be able to manage 26 GW of rooftop solar.
Among Australia’s states, New South Wales is said to have the highest solar potential with 49 GW, with Victoria having the second highest potential of 45 GW, followed by Queensland with 37 GW and Western Australia with 23 GW.
Acknowledging that the study findings will be refined in time with further data, the authors state that the it does not suggest Australia could or should source all its power from rooftop solar. “But noting these caveats, our study does indicate that even with the strong recent growth, Australia has only just scratched the surface of the potential. There are still many barriers to rooftop solar which if they were to be addressed by governments, investors and communities could unlock a large volume of clean energy,” they claim.
The study is available for viewing on CEFC’s website.
In April 2019, Green Energy Markets said it expects 2 GW of rooftop solar power capacity added in Australia in 2019 (see 2 GW Rooftop Solar For Australia In 2019). According to SolarPower Europe’s Global Market Outlook (GMO), Australia was the world’s fifth largest market in 2018, adding 5.3 GW, up from 1.3 GW the year before. Australia’s Smart Energy Council wrote in the GMO in a feature on Australia that 1.8 GW rooftop solar was added in 2018, resulting in around every fifth home having its own PV system (see SolarPower Europe: 800 GW new by 2023).