Over 1 GW And 11,000 Jobs in Australian Solar Industry Over 2012

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

The Australian Photovoltaic Association (APVA) announced last week that 2012 had been a great year for the Australian photovoltaic industry, installing over 1 GW of capacity (nearly half the nation’s current solar panel capacity of 2.6 GW) and employing approximately 11,000 people.

Furthermore, the APVA affirmed that the average price of installing a solar photovoltaic system has dropped to prices even lower than those seen in 2011.

Specifically, 1.038 GW of solar PV capacity was installed in 2012, more than any other year previously, including the 2010 and 2011 boom years. Of this 1.038 GW, 98% was from distributed systems across the grid, accounting for 4.5% of Australia’s total energy generation capacity and 70% of the new capacity installed in 2012.


Unsurprisingly rooftop solar was the primary force behind 2012’s solar growth, thanks in large part to the growing popularity of personal home rooftop installations providing some measure of independence from rising electricity prices.

Further good news was found in the number of jobs the solar industry provided a nation seemingly preternaturally struck my frustratingly high unemployment numbers.


The solar industry employed around 11,000 people across the nation. A significant percentage were involved in installation and maintenance — which is not itself a negative, but must be seen in terms of the role’s inherent fluctuation — though over 2000 of the jobs were placed in technology research and development, government positions, finance, and sales.


As photovoltaic technology matures, so too does the manufacturing process and thus the costs conversely drop. This can be a catch-22 for the industry if inexperienced analysts bring their comments to the party: Lower costs are inherently a good thing for a new industry, as it opens up the market penetration beyond simply early-adopters. However, due to the dropping costs the profits decrease, which tends to worry investors.

Installation of a PV system has continuously dropped, though the fall between 2011 and 2012 was not as great as in previous years. The average, unsubsidised cost per watt of installing a system in 2012 was approximately $3, versus $3.90 in 2011.


The APVA data is matched by Solar Choice’s own internal data with regard to 1.5kW and 2kW solar PV systems.

The Australian solar industry will benefit in years to come as technology costs minimise the installation cost, however the entrenchment of the Australian coal industry will force renewable energy markets to face stiff opposition, moreso than in other countries.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Our Latest EVObsession Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

Joshua S Hill has 4403 posts and counting. See all posts by Joshua S Hill