Solar market no boom, but no bust either

The numbers of solar installations this year suggest the boom times are behind us, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Green Energy Markets has just released its June quarter Solar Report covering developments in the Australian solar market. The impression is that solar has surrendered its boom conditions with system installations down about a third on the prior two years. But it is a vastly more steady and predictable market.

It is immediately obvious that the Australian solar PV market can kiss goodbye the huge surge in sales it used to enjoy towards the middle of the year, as people rushed in before the government solar rebate (STC) multiplier dropped down.  

The number of solar systems being installed in June this year were about the same as what happened in February and March last year, and about half that of June last year (as represented by the proxy of creation of small scale renewable energy certificates known as STCs). 

But there are advantages to having a more steady market, even if it’s a bit smaller. Managing those surges in sales required development of capacity in warehousing, in sales and in installation that was only required for a few months. This created a range of management challenges to bring on temporary staff and infrastructure while maintaining quality. It no doubt also imposed extra costs and inefficiency.

The table below illustrates that while the number of system sales is tracking about a third down on the prior two years, this has been partially offset by systems being of larger size.  While the market has contracted substantially on the 2012 year, an 800MW per annum market is nothing to be sneezed at. 

Graph for Solar market no boom, but no bust either

Note: Based on calendar year. 2013 is a forecast. Source: Green Energy Markets Solar Report

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