Powercor has released new data which shows record high solar panel installations in western Victorian in 2020.
The data supports Powercor’s prediction of one third of all homes in the network to have solar power within the next five years.
The number of solar PV installations in the Powercor network increased by approximately 6 per cent from 142,200 on 1 January 2020 to 150,500 by 30 April, suggesting the potential for a 18 per cent increase in 2020, faster than the 14 per cent growth in 2019.
This data also supports forecasts under Powercor’s plan for 2021-2026 which estimates the proportion of residential customers with solar will grow from 18 per cent to 34 per cent in some areas by 2026.
Powercor’s General Manager, Electricity Networks, Steven Neave, said the figures reinforced the need to build network capacity to ensure customers can get the full value from their investment in solar.
“If no action is taken by 2026, customers serviced by almost half of our zone substations will experience difficulties when they try to export energy to the grid,” Mr Neave said.
Powercor proposes to spend $61 million over the next five years to enable the vast majority of customers to export up to 5kVA from their solar PV system.
The plan is part of Powercor’s regulatory proposal to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) for 2021-2026 through which the business aims to deliver more to customers at a lower cost. Feedback on the submission is invited until 3 June 2020.
“We’re proposing this investment to give the vast majority of customers the ability to export back to the grid through a range of technical solutions and asset upgrades on the low voltage network,” Mr Neave said.
Mr Neave said while feedback from some solar installers indicates the number of installations in the second half of the year may be affected by the economic impact of COVID-19, the signs for solar were still positive.
“People want to take more control of their energy choices and solar is a great way to do that,” Mr Neave said.
“That’s why we want to support customers to make this choice by making strategic investments to allow the network to keep pace.”
Huge increases in solar installations were seen in Ballarat and Warrnambool from 2018 to 2019, with each experiencing around 19 per cent and 18 per cent growth, respectively.
Mildura saw a 17 per cent increase in the same period, while Geelong and Bendigo each had 15 per cent growth.
For more information, or to have your say on the proposal, click here.