Australia leads the way in small scale solar installs
Despite being a country famed for its glorious hot sunny weather, it is still something of a surprise to discover that Australia is leading the way in the number of small-scale residential rooftop solar panel installations worldwide.
Despite its size, Australia has a relatively small population when compared to the likes of other renewable energy market leading countries like China, the United States and European Union countries. And yet it’s the land Down Under that is leading the way in terms of encouraging households to switch to renewable energy by investing in domestic solar systems.
According to new data from the International Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Regulator, 392,500 systems were switched on last year which meant Australian households put more solar power systems on their rooftops than any other country. As of the end of June 2012 almost 1.5 million solar PV and solar thermal hot water systems had been installed. Broken down, that accounted for 753,844 solar PV panels and 743,842 solar hot water systems.
While Japan and Germany deployed in the region of 759 megawatts of small-scale solar power, Australia managed to sneak ahead with 785 megawatts through the installation of small-scale rooftop systems. However when it comes to generating solar electricity the country is way behind the likes of China, America and Japan where Government incentives seem to favour the large-scale commercial solar power projects as opposed to small-scale domestic systems.
“It took me by surprise that we were first, because Germany and Italy are so big,” commented Ric Brazzale, president of the REC Agents Association, a newly-established not-for-profit independent body which represents individuals and businesses working in Australia’s renewable energy sector.
“Australian support for solar has had a lot of support at the residential level, and all political parties in the country have supported residential solar,” he added.
Given the way it is designed, the Australian solar market favours the small-scale domestic solar panel installations; with a preference for small roof mounted systems, solar panels are popping up on suburban rooftops across all six states at a rapid rate which has enabled the country to claim the top spot for the number of household solar installations. Some four million Australians already have solar panels on their homes or at work and many more are eager to get on board and start generating their own renewable energy, despite the scaling back of tariffs and rebates.