The Clean Energy Regulator's (CER) September Quarterly Carbon Market Report (QCMR) highlights the start of increasing rooftop solar PV installations from August, paving the way for a boost to small-scale renewables going into Q4.
According to the report, an estimated 729 megawatts (MW) of small-scale PV capacity was installed this quarter, an improvement from the first half of the year and almost back to the Q3 record level seen in 2021.
CER Chair David Parker said these figures were a sign that households were investing in rooftop solar PV to stay on top of rising energy bills.
“Increased installations of rooftop solar systems are happening off the back of an increase in retailer enquiries that began in July. If this trend continues, total capacity in 2022 will be about 2.7 gigawatts (GW),” Mr Parker said.
“Looking ahead, Quarter 4 is typically the biggest quarter for rooftop solar and we also expect to see more of the larger commercial and industrial installations coming through.
"We also expect a big Q4 for wind and solar power stations with approximately 1.5 GW to start generating.”
Additionally, installations of air source heat pumps have increased significantly, with 23,000 units installed in Q3 alone, compared to an average of 17,000 per year for much of the past decade.
“Households are switching from old, less efficient electric and gas hot water systems to newer and more efficient air source heat pumps to meet their energy needs,” Mr Parker said.
The QCMR also shows a continuation of record activity in the Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) market with nearly 8.4 million ACCUs transacted in Q3.
“The increased level of trading activity in the secondary market could be related to the Australian Government's ongoing consultation around lowering the emissions thresholds for Australia's largest emitters under the proposed Safeguard Mechanism Reform and companies looking to reduce net emissions,” Mr Parker said.
“This could also explain the record accumulation of ACCUs, up a total of 3.6 million to almost 20 million at the end of Q3, and the increased participation from third-party traders in the market.”
Q3 also saw continued strong voluntary and state and territory demand for both ACCUs and large-scale generation certificates (LGCs), up 93% and 46% respectively over the year, as businesses and governments seek to demonstrate progress towards emissions reduction targets and renewable electricity use.
“In short, this rise in trading activity signals a significant increase in participation in Australia's carbon markets,” Mr Parker stated.
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