Solar Industry Update

DRC Systems has worked closely with many of Adelaide’s major solar panels  installation companies and has developed solid business relationships with companies looking to grow their market share of the solar industry in South Australia. The industry has certainly experienced its highs and lows and in this update we look at the current state of play in the Adelaide solar market.

Adelaide Solar Market Maturing?

The solar industry in Adelaide has been extremely active over the last 6 years as a result of Federal and State Government incentives to install solar panels in Adelaide. In fact Adelaide and South Australia can now claim the number one position in Australia, in terms of being the state with the highest percentage of residential solar power installations. South Australia now creates more than 20 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources of energy, with solar panels being the largest contributor to the renewable energy mix. The most recent change to the ‘driver’ of solar installations in S.A. has certainly been the cut to the solar feed in tariff. This has, to a certain extent, been a ‘game changer’ for the industry. The ‘feed in tariff’ means that home owners who install a solar system get a financial benefit for selling excess electricity generated by their system back to the electricity network. The price that is paid for that electricity is know as the ‘feed in tariff rate’. The currently available feed in tariff in S.A. is only 7.6 cents per Kwh (see for further details of how the feed in tariff impacts solar panels in Adelaide). This lower feed in tariff has certainly lead to a slowing of the market foe solar panels in Adelaide in addition to the ‘maturing’ of the market.

Size Matters

The trend in solar installation in Adealide over the last 2 to 3 years has been towards larger systems. Solar system installations tend to to be larger now than a few years ago.  The price of a 4 or 5 kilowatt system is around 50 percent what it was 7 or 8 years ago, so many people looking to acquire a solar system tend to go for the larger systems which have the capacity, in many instances, to supply a household’s entire electrical demand during daylight hours – the time when a solar system is producing power.

Solar Electrical Storage – The Next Generation?

As the Adelaide solar market matures many solar companies are looking to next generation solar technologies to ‘add value’ to their solar offerings. One such emerging technology is solar energy storage. As solar systems produce power during daylight hours, many installations could benefit from being able to ‘store’ electricity generated by the solar system and then re-use that energy during the night time. As the feed in tariff, discussed above ,is relatively small, it makes sense to store excess power created by the solar panels and then feed it back into the household when demanded by the home at night. This often the time that electrical demand is at its greatest for many residences. The benefit of this technology, coupled with solar power is that homes can move closer to being ‘energy self sufficient’ and less reliant of grid supplied power.