Australia’s residential solar market is expected to continue to contract during 2016, according to local solar consultancy SunWiz.
In its Strategic Predictions for Solar Businesses in 2016, Australia’s solar consultancy, SunWiz, explained that 2015 represented a “turning point” for the Australian solar PV industry, with the “residential market decline set in (possibly) for good” due to already high solar penetration and the possibility the country’s feed-in tariff (FiT) may come to an end.
“Though the commercial market grew in 2015, the growth was far less than in previous years,” SunWiz’ analysts concluded. “SunWiz expects modest growth to continue in the small-to-medium commercial segment as a whole, though there will be key high-growth segments targeted by the most well-informed and successful PV retailers.”
There was an increase in 2015 in systems in excess of 100 kW, thanks in part to the Solar Flagships program. Whether or not the 102 MW Nyngan and 53 MW Broken Hill solar projects, Australia’s largest current solar projects, will be included in 2015’s figures or 2016’s is unclear. However, despite there being noise made of future projects — such as the 150 MW Kidston Solar PV project in Northern Queensland, being developed by Genex Power, which just received development approval and would be the country’s largest if completed — SunWiz does not expect any of them to be delivered during 2016.
To make matters worse, or at least more complex, 2016 is an election year for Australia’s leaders, with renewable energy and climate change again likely to take center stage (alongside immigration and financial issues). As SunWiz notes, “anything can happen” in an Australian election year, and though there is a likelihood for climate and energy policies to be made during the campaigns, none of these are likely to have any impact on development in 2016.
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