Rooftop solar PV systems are estimated to have saved energy consumers in the Australian state of New South Wales between AU$2.2 billion and AU$3.3 billion (US$1.7 billion to 2.6 billion) in a 12-month period, according to a report commissioned by campaign group Solar Citizens.
Solar Citizens said the report is evidence of substantial benefits for entire communities and that more people are ready to make the shift to solar energy.
The report, which analysed a one year period from 1 May 2016 to 30 April 2017, was delivered by Energy Synapse an energy market consultancy.
Energy Synapse concluded that without rooftop solar, wholesale electricity prices would have been between 33% and 50% higher.
It found wholesale costs were reduced by AU$1,400 to AU$2,200 for each Megawatt hour produced by small-scale solar. The biggest monthly cost reduction was AU$740 million in February 2017.
Small-scale solar PV reduced the length of peak demand by 58%, from an average of 5.3 hours to 2.2 hours, while the severity of peak demand was reduced on average by 3% (432MW).
Solar Citizens accused the federal government of political point scoring when it comes to clean energy and appealed for wider use of solar in households, schools, hospitals and other public buildings.
Shani Tager senior campaigner at Solar Citizens said: “This shoots an enormous hole in the federal Government’s ongoing rubbishing of renewable energy."
Rooftop solar has been taken up by 1.7 million households and businesses in Australia and 370,000 in NSW, with 2% of power in NSW produced by rooftop solar.
Solar Citizens said it is expecting similar outcomes for other Australian states and territories including in South Australia and Queensland.