A record-breaking 5000 MW of solar power fitted to home rooftops in 2020

The rooftop solar industry has installed a record-breaking 5000 MW of solar power in 2020, equivalent to almost 15 million average solar panels.

SUN POWER: Investment in solar power continues at record levels.

SUN POWER: Investment in solar power continues at record levels.

With every state and territory except Tasmania smashing records for the volume of solar panels and system size installed, Australia now has 20,000MW of solar capacity nationwide-up from 15,000MW in 2019.

To put this into context, Queensland's two major coal-fired electricity generators are the 1460 MW Stanwell Power Station in central Queensland and the 1843 MW Tarong in the South Burnett.

Analysis by solar industry consultancy SunWiz has found that Australia leads the world in uptake of solar on a per-capita basis following a record year for installations in 2019.

The annual growth rate for rooftop solar has exceeded 33 per cent for the past four years, and accelerated in 2020.

"The number of Australians installing rooftop solar systems increased by 40 per cent compared to 2019 levels," said SunWiz managing director Warwick Johnston.

"The COVID-19 pandemic had major impacts on Australia's economy, but the benefits of solar were strong enough to help the industry overcome challenges including supply shortages from China, lockdowns stopping installation in Victoria, and economic uncertainty.

"In fact, the pandemic had an overall positive impact for the industry as people staying home more turned to solar to help reduce their electricity bills," he said.

Commercial growth slowed, partly due to COVID-19's impact on the broader economy and business finances, but corporate power purchase agreements and green hydrogen provided optimism, with mega-projects on the horizon - including the 14,000MW SunCable and the 26,000MW Asian Renewable Energy Hub.

Utility-scale battery projects also became more common as state governments worked towards meeting net zero emissions targets.

"It's an exceptional time to be working anywhere in the Australian rooftop solar supply chain, and things will only get better as solar system prices continue to hit record lows and momentum builds on reducing emissions to tackle climate change," Mr Johnson said.

"While we need policies that ensure every household can connect solar to the grid and ideally make it simpler and more affordable for renters across the country to install solar panels - similar to what is underway in Victoria, 2021 looks to be another bright year for solar."

This story Rooftop solar industry steams ahead first appeared on Redland City Bulletin.