Main Image: The level of rooftop solar in Australia is rising rapidly. Photo Glenn Hunt
Rooftop solar has been growing rapidly in Australia and while Melbourne’s commuter belt is experiencing strong take-up, in NSW the greatest growth is occurring outside Sydney.
Australian aerial imagery company Nearmap has utilised the latest Clean Energy Regulator data to show the top five postcodes for rooftop solar energy growth in NSW and Victoria as of March.
“From the ground, it can be difficult to see the progress our country is making to reduce energy costs and our carbon footprint, but when you look at it from the air, you can observe in incredible detail the renewable energy uptake occurring across our country,” Nearmap executive Shane Preston said.
“We’ve been capturing aerial images of Australia for the last 10 years, and have recently seen a dramatic change in the rooftop landscape, with many more solar panels on Aussie homes.”
The largest growth of solar rooftop installations in Victoria is in a ring around Melbourne city itself. Cranbourne (1) and Truganina (2) are leading the state in installations, with about 7000 each.
Derrimut and Werribee follow closely behind in third with just over 6000. Craigieburn and Donnybrook rank fourth with just over 4300 units across the postcode, while Burnside rounds out the top five with just below 4000 installed units.
The story is different in NSW, with the leading solar regions located well outside the city. The north coast city of Lismore came first with more than 5700 units installed, followed closely by the central West city of Dubbo, with just under 5500 solar rooftop installations.
The northern end of the Central Coast, north of Sydney, incorporating Hamlyn Terrace and Wadalba, was ranked third, with more than 4800 solar units installed across the postcode area.
The north coast makes another appearance in NSW’s top five, with Bilambil and its surrounds, just west of Tweed Heads, installing about 4700 units. Only Moorebank in Sydney’s west, sitting at fifth with just over 4500 solar rooftop units installed, represented the state’s major city.
Mr Preston said this uptake would only increase.
“As the benefits of renewable energies like solar continue to surface, we can expect to see more demand for installations,” he said.
Mr Preston said aerial imagery was increasingly being used by solar companies to remotely identify new business opportunities, accurately estimate the power output and quote customers.
In March, rooftop solar installations hit a new record, achieving 127 megawatts of new generation installed in a single month, or about 18,237 new solar systems. This is enough to power 36,710 homes and is forecast to cut power bills by around $225 million over the next decade.
The amount of rooftop solar installed for the first quarter of 2018 is already 56 per cent higher than the same time last year, which at the time was a record.
According to Green Energy Markets, “the rate of rooftop solar installs so far this year is about 50 per cent higher than what had been assumed in the economic modelling of the National Energy Guarantee”.
However, global solar expert Yosef Abramowitz recently said Australia “not living up to its potential for power generation”. Australia could be the first continent powered fully by renewable energy but was falling short, he said.
Rooftop solar currently generates just over 5 per cent of all electricity nationwide.
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