End of Year Forecast for the Australian PV Solar Market (2020)
This year, it’s hard to predict much of anything, so speculating on the Australian PV solar market may be more trouble than it’s worth. However even amidst a global pandemic, most PV solar companies have managed to stay in business this year.
For the past 9 months, it has been a wild ride to watch huge swings in renewable energy adoption all across the country. Without getting ahead of ourselves, we’ve put this article together to forecast what the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 will bring to the Australian solar industry.
2020 Australian PV Solar Recap (First 9 Months)
As we head into the spring of 2020, let’s start by looking at the numbers from what has been one of the most unpredictable years in recent history. In the graph below, you will see how 2020 compares to previous years in terms of national PV solar kWh capacity installed.
As you can see, 2020 has set a new record, with more PV installed so far this year than in the first 9 months of any previous year. In fact, the national solar capacity installed at the end of September has gone up so much that it has nearly eclipsed the 2019 full-year, 12 month total.
In this next chart, you can see that the increase in domestic volume is actually a result of record growth across nearly every Australian state. Clearly, there is an upward trend in each of the state’s graphed capacities with many rapid increases among steadily rising figures.
Before COVID-19 changed the word in March, the Australian PV market was actually 40% ahead of itself year over year. Above, you can see distinct downward slopes around that time. However, at the end of the winter, most states have already jumped back to record-setting months, with the exception of Victoria. This plummet can be largely attributed to Victoria’s Stage 4 lockdown preventing installations from taking place.
Year over Year Solar Industry Growth
So clearly, not even a global health pandemic can fully slow down the rapid growth of the Australian PV industry. With the exception of a few mandated operation shutdowns, solar is continuing to grow at rates across Australia that we have been getting used to over the past few years.
In this chart, we’ve compounded the month-over-month growth rate of the Australian PV market for the past years, and plotted the annual averages. As you can see, the capacity installed has been steadily increasing at a rate of roughly 3% year over year.
2020 is no different, with a combined annual growth rate of 2.9% through the first 9 months of the year. This comes as an uptick, after 2 years of slightly lower growth rates following a peak in 2017 with 3.4%. The large dip in the middle of this past year can largely be attributed to both COVID-19.
The Impact of COVID on Australian Solar 2020-2021
COVID both brought a rush of STC creation on in April, adding fuel to the fire of solar uptake. The summer of bushfires had already had an acceleration effect, as people bought solar for increased self-sufficiency and environmental concern.
COVID dampened growth in May, but then growth returned with vigour as people worked from home and got self-sufficient on their garden and on their roof.
Many speculations can also be made that spending more time at home due to COVID has actually led to an increase in solar PV sales. With people getting used to working from home, this is a trend that may continue.
Of course, there are also many factors that remain out of the control of home and business owners. Shut down supply chains have the potential to limit solar resources from entering the country and local restrictions may prevent installation.
In Victoria, sales have continued remotely and installations have suspended, which means built-up pressure. Once the state gives the okay, backed up jobs will likely skyrocket Victoria’s total kWh capacity at the end of the year or well into 2021.
Reasons Why Solar will Continue Being Adopted at the End of 2020
- More Time Spent at Home, Increased Electricity Costs
- Solar Panels are “Recession-Proof” and Provide Financial Security
- Stimulus Checks from Federal and State Governments May be Coming Soon
PV solar panels continue to be a strong investment for homeowners looking to achieve financial security with an investment in their home’s energy. With more people spending time at home, money that is ordinarily spent at restaurants is now showing up in increased electric bills.
What to Look Out for at the Beginning of 2021
- The CER-led Government Review (Findings, Recommendations, and Political Direction)
- Uptake of Batteries, as Influenced by State Programs
- New PV restrictions from Market Over-Saturation
- New Markets Opening (Apartments, Rentals, EV coupling etc.)
The CER review of the industry is sure to bring some interesting findings and recommendations. Depending on the study’s recommendations, short term demand for solar PVs could increase during political lag periods if subsidies were proposed to be lowered or eliminated.
Our 2021 Australian Solar PV Forecast
Whereas we would love to predict the future, it is simply too tough to tell where PV solar is headed next year. Most importantly, we do not anticipate that the market will drop anytime soon, although global and national restrictions may continue to factor into the ability for capacity to be installed.
Moving forward, 2021 is likely to see domestic market growth in both PV solar batteries and electric vehicles (EV). Although the volume will likely stay low for now, as these items become cheaper and easier to access, they are nearly guaranteed to be followed with increased PV capacity for support.
In the worst-case scenario, 2021 could potentially be a flat year for the Australian PV market, however we strongly believe that will not be the case. More likely, we hope to see another continued year of nearly 3% month over month growth.