Dubbo had the highest capacity to generate megawatts (MW) from “rooftop solar” in regional and rural Australia in 2017.
On a table of the top 10 locations in Australia for “capacity in MW” in 2017, the city is in third place behind the Perth suburbs of Canning Vale and Baldivis.
The federal government’s Clean Energy Regulator released data obtained from its Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme this week.
It has told the Daily Liberal of 490 installations with the capacity to generate 2.976MW in Dubbo last year, compared to 489 installations and 3.377MW at Canning Vale, and 579 installations and 3.009MW at Baldivis.
The Clean Energy Regulator reports that Australian homes and business “installed more renewable energy capacity” in 2017 than ever before.
Scheme data shows more than 1057 MW was installed last year, mostly from rooftop solar, with the figure set to eventually exceed 1070MW.
The Clean Energy Regulator reports 3.5 million solar panels were fixed to Australian rooftops in 2017, or 9500 each day.
It determined a preference for larger capacity systems in 2017 as “reducing costs made these more attractive”.
Average solar system capacity has doubled in the five years since 2012, from three to six kilowatts.
Clean Energy Regulator executive general manager Mark Williamson said increasing interest in renewables was “good news for reducing carbon emissions”.
"We are seeing a wide cross section of Australians, households, community centres, schools and small businesses receiving incentives under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme,” he said.
"Our data shows consumers are embracing renewable energy to take control of their electricity bills."
In 2017, there was a 41 per cent increase in installed renewable energy capacity across all states and territories compared to 2016.
Queensland led the way with installed capacity at almost 295MW. The Australian Capital Territory had the biggest annual increase of 57 per cent.
"The data collected by the Clean Energy Regulator in 2017 reflects the industry is going from strength to strength,” Mr Williamson said.
“It looks like 2018 will be another big year for the solar industry.”
The top 10 locations in Australia for “capacity in MW” in 2017 includes one other NSW community.
Port Macquarie ranked tenth with about 1.8 MW.
Meanwhile, NSW Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin is congratulating big and small businesses in the state for “leading Australia in rooftop solar installations, with nearly double the amount of solar capacity than our nearest rival”.
He said the latest Australian Photovoltaic Institute data showed 13,641 businesses across the state had solar systems with total capacity of more than 600 MW.
Queensland businesses rated a distant second with 350 MW, the minister said.
“It is great to see businesses taking control of their energy bills,” he said. “This will lead to a more attractive bottom line and will allow companies to grow.
“Our small businesses have installed around 290 MW of solar on their roofs while 70 large businesses have installed a further 315 MW.”
Mr Harwin said businesses were making record solar investments elsewhere.
"There is a multi-billion dollar pipeline of solar projects the private sector is backing, which will give NSW a secure and affordable energy supply into the future," he said.
"NSW is leading Australia's solar revolution on so many fronts. We have Australia's largest solar farm at Nyngan and the country's first floating solar farm at Lismore."
The minister said there were at least 400,000 rooftops with solar installations across NSW.