CANBERRA, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Rooftop solar panel installations in Australia soared almost 50 percent in the first half of 2018, a report revealed on Monday night.
The report, released by consultancy firm Green Energy Markets, found that the total capacity of rooftop photovoltaic (PV) panels installed in the first half of 2018 was 701.9 megawatts (MW), up 48.1 percent from the same period a year earlier.
New South Wales (NSW) added the largest additional capacity of any state, installing panels with a capacity of 183.6 MW, up 70 percent from 2017.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) exhibited the fastest growth with installed capacity up 130 percent from the first six months of 2017.
The uptake has been so profound that Australia is expected to reach its Renewable Energy Target (RET) as much as two years earlier than the 2020 deadline set by the government.
Much of the rise has been driven by commercial-sized systems with a capacity greater than 15 kilowatts (KW).
"If we continue on at the same rate of installations, we will end the year at between 1450 MW to 1500 MW -- this will be more than 30 percent higher than the 1100 MW installed last year," Ric Brazzale, chairman of Green Energy Markets, told Fairfax Media on Tuesday.
The total solar installations in 2018 is expected to surpass 4000 MW or close to triple the previous single-year record of 1336 MW set in 2017.
Green Energy's conservative estimate of 3880 MW added in 2018 would represent a 4000 percent increase from the 85 MW installed nationally in 2009.