New study says Australia could host up to 179 gigawatts of rooftop solar

Australia could host more than 20 times its current 8GW of residential and commercial rooftop solar capacity, with room for as much as 179GW, a new report has found.

The joint study was prepared for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Property Council of Australia by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, the UNSW’s School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE), and the Australian Photovoltaic Institute.It says that says the combined annual output from rooftop solar could be as high as 245 terrawatt-hours, more than the current total grid consumption of around 220TWh.

Around half of the untapped potential for this solar generation lies is residential zones, with primary and rural production zones and commercial and industrial zones making up the rest.”Australia is currently using less than 5 per cent of the potential capacity for rooftop solar,” the authors say in the report.

“Our study does not suggest Australia could or should source all its power from rooftop solar. But noting these caveats (potential for shading and structural integrity issues), our study does indicate that even with the strong recent growth, Australia has only just scratched the surface of the potential.”

NSW has the highest rooftop solar potential in the country (49GW),followed by Victoria (45GW), and then Queensland (37GW) and South and Western Australia (23GW).

Giles Parkinson