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Rooftop solar passion

08 October 2021

Australia’s rooftop solar panel installation smashed all kinds of records in 2020 – a trend that has continued into 2021.

Australians have fallen in love with solar power, harvesting the sun to make the electricity that runs their homes. At the end of July 2021, Australia had nearly 3 million rooftop solar systems operating on more than one in four homes across the country. Queenslanders led the way with over 800,000 systems operating - it had just 33 installations 20 years ago.

One in every four homes across the country now has a system operating on its roof, and the Clean Energy Regulator is currently processing around 7,000 applications every week or more.

While much of the growth in recent years has been across south-eastern Australia, it's Canberra that's setting a new solar standard for Australian homes - all houses in the new suburb of Denman Prospect must have a minimum 3kW system installed (sufficient to run most appliances found in a small home with 2-3 occupants). Most homeowners in the suburb have installed larger systems.

Access to free electricity attracted new home buyers Alex and Sam to Denman Prospect, believed to be the first in Australia where the developer has mandated the installation of solar panels for every dwelling.

“It was certainly a buying feature for us,” Alex said.

“We’ve a young family so the pressure’s always on to make our money go as far as you can. When we started looking around for a new home, a solar system was in the back of our minds because it’s so cost effective. Here at Denman Prospect the hard work was already done for us - the right sized system was part of the deal.”

Sam said that seeing the solar systems on every roof was noticeable at first.

“It was novel, I guess. They did stand out when we first got here but it just looks normal now.”

“Like ours, most of the houses here are north facing so the panels get good sun all day. The solar system is working well; it’s been properly planned and is really making a difference to the family budget. What they’ve done here should be how new houses are built everywhere - it makes total sense.”

As solar panels have little brand recognition, it can be hard for householders to judge quality issues. Installing substandard panels means the consumer is not getting the product they paid for, and the system may not perform as intended or last as long as it should.

To provide consumers with certainty about their rooftop systems, the Clean Energy Regulator has partnered with industry to establish solar panel validation across the supply chain. Solar panels are validated by the installer using a smartphone app to ensure they are genuine and able to perform at specification. Householders can be confident the panels on their roof meet Australian standards and come with a warranty.

Buoyed by this certainty and attracted by the prospect of smaller electricity bills and anticipated environmental benefits, Linda of Aranda in Canberra installed solar panels onto her existing family home in August 2020.

“I was convinced by a neighbour; they swore by it” she said.

“I researched thoroughly and organised quotes – we went through a lot of product information so we could make the best choice. We were happy with the quote we chose, and also happy with the advice of the one we ended up getting. It was all very painless, pretty quick, and we’ve had no issues whatsoever.”

Linda was surprised how easy the process was.

“It was just a matter of reading about different companies, and then finding the company we liked. They recommended the size system we needed for the house - what we’ve got is perfectly adequate for what we use.”

She said her system has lived up to expectations.

“It’s a bit hard to quantify environmental benefits, but I noticed a cost difference on our electricity bill immediately. We feel that it’s been a good investment. It’s a nice feeling to be using your own electricity.”

The Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer program is a way for businesses across Australia that sell solar and storage to show their commitment to responsible sales and marketing activities and industry best practice. Approved Solar Retailers will also provide a five-year, whole-of-system warranty and will ensure a Clean Energy Council accredited installer sets-up your solar system. Find an approved solar retailer near you.

Installing solar panels on Australian homes.

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