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Case study: Rooftop revolution

Roof-top solar panels installed on large-building.

 

Fly over almost any Australian suburb today and multiple rooftop panels glint in the sun. This reflects the steady increase in small-scale rooftop solar panel installations under the Renewable Energy Target.

In 2014 the number of small-scale solar panel installations on Australian household roofs passed 1.3 million, with a capacity of four gigawatts–enough to supply electricity for an average 755 000 households for a year. This highlights the role of everyday Australians in generating renewable energy and managing their electricity expenses.

Businesses are also realising the benefits of going solar. Installations under the higher end of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme during 2014 included a bakery, dairy farm, abattoir, hardware store, insurance company, schools, bowling club, manufacturing business, retail business and an RSL Club.

The Hornsby RSL Club installed a 100 kilowatt system in April 2014.

'We had been investigating solar energy for a number of years to complement our existing environmental and sustainability measures and to reduce increasing energy costs,' said Hornsby RSL Club Assistant CEO, Steve Rigney. 'The electricity generated by the 100 kilowatt solar system is consumed entirely by the Club–creating considerable savings per annum off our total energy bill. It's well worth it.'

The average size of installations has been increasing, from two kilowatts in 2010 to 4.6 kilowatts in 2014. The number of higher kilowatt capacity systems also increased in 2014, with 1 505 installations between 30 and 100 kilowatts, compared with 847 in 2013.

From residential to industrial and commercial, rooftops around the country are evidence of Australians' growing preference for solar.

 

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