A new report from the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) estimates 80,000 electricity customers in the state will have installed solar panels by December this year.
This figure represents around 10% of all small electricity customers in South Australia. In 2006/7, there were just 1,600 electricity customers with solar power systems in SA.
The switch to solar has been helped along by incentives such as the Solar Credits rebate and South Australia's feed in tariff; along with households and businesses seeking to buffer against skyrocketing electricity prices.
The cost of solar power in South Australia has been further dramatically decreased in recent times due to federal and state incentives having the desired effect of promoting uptake and competition. This has subsequently pushed down the base price of components such as solar panels and solar inverters; allowing more South Australian households to make their own electricity, slash their electricity bills and reduce their carbon footprint - while also creating many jobs in the state.
With solar energy now so affordable, some households are choosing to install a system large enough to wipe out their bills altogether.
According to an article on AdelaideNow, the average South Australian household's power bill has risen $500 in the past 3 years - and there are more electricity price increases on the horizon.
Of the reported increase in power bills, less than 14% can be attributed to green energy initiatives, which include - but are not limited to - support for solar programs.
ESCOSA's report also states South Australia remains the nation's leader for wind power, with approximately 1,150 MW installed and operational. An additional 2,022MW of wind generation capacity has been identified as being advanced or publicly announced.
"The licensed and operational capacity of wind generation in South Australia now exceeds the State’s normal minimum load," says the report.
ESCOSA's Annual Performance Report 2010-11 - Energy Supply Industry can be downloaded here (PDF).