Adelaide Solar Market – Background

The Adelaide solar market, like the market Australia wide, has certainly been on a roller coaster ride over the last few years. As changes to the Federal Government Solar Credits program and the South Australian Solar Feed In Scheme have changed the financials for potential buyers of solar systems, both in terms of the ‘up front’ cost of the system (via the solar credits scheme) and the paymentsolar system uptake forecast for Adelaide 2014 system owners get for excess electricity their solar system ‘feeds back’ onto the S.A. electricity grid (via the S.A. solar feed in scheme). As dates for changes to these schemes have approached there has generally been a huge rush of activity within the Adelaide solar market from people looking to ‘lock in’ the incentives on offer at the time. Following the changes the market generally then goes through a quieter period.

S.A. Leads The Way In Solar Uptake

Despite this volatility within the industry, which has been mirrored in all states around the country, South Australia has lead the way in terms of take up and acceptance of solar panels systems as a legitimate way for households to significantly make a dent in their power bills and take practical measures to reduce their homes reliance on coal and gas based electricity generation and reduce their carbon emissions. South Australia now has approximately 25 percent of homes with a solar system installed, a significantly greater percentage than  other States (Queensland 21 percent, N.S.W. and Victoria around 10 percent and W.A. at 18 percent). This is impressive and credit has to be given to the Government initiatives that spurred this uptake. South Australia has a renewable energy target of 33 percent by 2020. This is really changing the energy supply landscape in South Australia and solar has now become a serious contributor to energy supply, not only for home owners but increasingly for business owners – where solar installation has proven to be a good match for businesses where their energy demand is predominantly during the daytime – the time when solar panels are obviously producing electricity.

Pricing Direction For Solar Panels In 2014

Several reports including one from Deutsche Bank have indicated that global demand for solar panels will continue to increase in 2014 and into 2015. 2013 saw prices for solar modules out of China (where over 80 percent of all solar panels are currently produced) remain at historic lows as issues of oversupply and over capacity kept a downward pressure on prices. As global demand rises over the next 2 years it is likely that prices will increase, albeit at a slow pace. The other issue impacting solar panel pricing in the S.A. market place (and nationally) will be the decline of the value of the Australian dollar. In January 2013 the Australian / U.S. dollar exchange rate sat at A$1.08 = US$1.00 – compare that with today’s exchanged rate of A$0.894 = US$1.00. This represents a 17 percent depreciated in the value of the Australian dollar. This will mean higher prices for solar panels.

Solar Is Here To Stay

Regardless of the vagueries of exchange rates, Government incentives and the ups and downs of the Adelaide solar market, we are firmly of the view that the solar market in S.A. will remain strong. The financials for solar increasingly add up as power prices from ‘conventional’ generation sources rise. Commercial solar farms like AGL’s Nyngan and Broken Hill projects point to the viability of solar as an increasingly significant player in larger scale energy production. With organisations like the C.S.I.R.O. investing significant research into ‘next generation’ solar technology like thin film solar cells the confidence in solar technology and its strong future seems clear.