Australia’s solar revolution is rolling on, with the nation achieving a landmark level of installations, writes Gavin Dennett.

According to the Australian Photovoltaics Institute (APVI), by the end of 2021, 25.3GW of solar had been installed nationwide, putting Australia in the top 10 countries around the world for annual growth and total solar installations.

More than three million Australian households and small businesses are now powering their needs from rooftop solar, in addition to significant large-scale installations that service thousands of homes and businesses with clean energy.

In 2021, more than 4.5GW of solar was installed on approximately 350,000 Australian homes and businesses, creating around 25,000 jobs in sales and installation.

“With a population of 25.7 million people, and at least 25.4GW of solar installed, Australia has now increased its leadership in installed solar per capita, with close to 1kW per capita installed solar, which is well ahead of the rest of the world,” says APVI secretary Professor Renate Egan.

At the end of 2020, Australia had achieved around 800W of solar installed per person – ahead of the next nearest nation, Germany, with 650W per person – however, by the end of 2021, with 25GW of solar installed, Australia has achieved nearly 1000W, or 1kW, per person.

“We have seen ongoing, strong growth in solar in Australia, with an astounding 25 per cent growth rate” says Professor Egan.

“This is likely to increase Australia’s leadership in solar per capita – well ahead of other leading solar nations.”

Despite Australia’s solar industry facing COVID-19 challenges in 2020 and 2021, it is still powering ahead with record growth. Solar PV remains the lowest cost for any new energy generation, and is a popular investment for homes and businesses as a way to reduce energy bills and contribute towards the target of a zero-emissions economy.

Australia’s average solar system size installed in the small-scale solar category has grown to 8.8kW – which costs $7000-$10,000 on average for a quality system – and its return on investment is around 20 per cent.

“There’s nearly nowhere better to put your money than into a rooftop solar installation,” says Professor Egan.