According to industry consultancy SunWiz, Australia’s rooftops have a total capacity of 20 gigawatts of solar panels, which is expected soon to surpass the entire coal industry’s electricity production capacity. Currently, almost one in three Australian households have installed solar panels, giving the country the highest penetration rate of solar photovoltaics in the world. Among the Australian states, Queensland has the highest share of solar panels installed on suitable dwellings, with 82% penetration, followed by South Australia with 78%, New South Wales with 51%, and Victoria with 43%.
Queensland’s sunny climate has led residents to install 5.2GW of solar PV, and the state is set to reach 1 million rooftop solar panel systems soon. Meanwhile, NSW is adding the most additional capacity of any state, with almost 100 MW installed each month, according to SunWiz. Rooftop solar is now the largest electricity supplier during the middle of the day, driving down demand in the national electricity market. However, large-scale generators, particularly coal plants, face challenges in meeting fluctuating demand due to the increasing availability of solar power.
Warwick Johnston, the managing director of SunWiz, highlights that when the household solar panel capacity is combined with the 11 GW of large-scale solar plants, solar energy has become the largest fuel source for electrical power in Australia. During the middle of the day, rooftop solar is frequently the primary source of electricity supply, leading to record-low demand in the national electricity market, even during peak usage periods such as the December quarter.