Australia has 2m small-scale renewable systems, says Clean Energy Regulator

renewable energy

Australia now has more than 2m small-scale renewable energy systems, according to the Clean Energy Regulator, the falling cost of solar panel systems and the renewable energy target credited for the milestone.

The Clean Energy Regulator, a government agency that oversees Australia’s renewable energy targets, said the 2m systems could generate 6,882 gigawatt hours of electricity a year.

This equates to the amount of electricity required by about 1.04m Australian homes, equivalent to all households in Perth, Hobart, Darwin and Canberra combined.

The bulk of the small-scale systems are solar-based. 1.1m are solar photovoltaic (PV) rooftop appliances, with a further 842,000 solar systems used to generate hot water. A small amount of wind and hydro energy makes up the rest of the total.

“Assisted by falling system costs coupled with financial incentives derived from the renewable energy target, small-scale systems have become more and more affordable for everyday Australians,” said the Clean Energy Regulator.

The milestone comes just eight months after Australia achieved its first rooftop solar systems.

The renewable energy target, which mandates that 20% of Australia’s energy must be from renewable sources by 2020, is currently under scrutiny, with the government set to review the target.

As reported by Guardian Australia, several members of the Coalition want to scale back or completely dismantle the RET, claiming it adds to energy costs.

Russell Marsh, policy director at the Clean Energy Council, said the push to scrap the RET was “concerning” given its effectiveness.

“We’ve got no real indication which way the government is going to go but we’d hope they will conclude the RET is a good piece of policy,” he said.

“The RET is helping Australians install solar PV and it’s clear there is a tremendous appetite across Australia for people to install technology in their own homes and effectively generate their own energy.

“If you look at the reports from state regulators, all have indicated that the cost of the RET is a tiny part of people’s power bills, only a couple of a percent. This tiny cost is far outweighed by the benefits and the investment flowing from the RET to renewable energy is actually having a moderating effect on power prices.”