JOINING THE AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTIAL SOLAR BOOM
It’s official: Australian homeowners are going solar. In December, the Clean Energy Council marked the installation of rooftop solar power in two million homes across Australia, up from a mere 20,000 ten years ago. This record-breaking trajectory shows no signs of slowing down, with the rising number of monthly installations fuelled by improvements in large and small scale energy storage and decreasing costs to consumers brought about by improving economies of scale.
The trend is also helped by a number of state-sponsored rebates available for household and small business installation of renewable energy systems such as PV or wind, making the ROI for homeowners even more attractive. In a sign that solar is here to stay, several large-scale solar farms are underway, including 13 projects under construction in QLD, and a $250 million wind and solar project in WA slated to begin construction this year. Overall, while clear public policies around renewables are still emerging, the demand for solar across Australia is surging.
To paraphrase, the shadow is on the wall — and the solar companies who can most efficiently and accurately service new residential customers will be the most competitive in the new renewables landscape. With 80% of Australian households yet to benefit from the savings rooftop solar PV cells can bring, the market is only going to get hotter. Retaining a competitive edge will rely on a range of industry-disrupting technologies, including current, high resolution aerial imagery.
Bundaburg, QLD, captured 23/11/18. Bundaburg leads the top five solar postcodes in Australia.
IMPROVING SOLAR OUTCOMES WITH THE LATEST AERIAL IMAGERY
Current aerial photos help solar installers prospect for solar leads; produce quick, accurate quotes; and confidently estimate labor and material requirements. Top solar providers are already leveraging the power of aerial views of properties to keep up with Australia’s appetite for renewables. In fact, 17 of the top 20 STC (small-scale technology certificates: sub-100 kW) PV retailers in Australia subscribe to Nearmap.
If you’re considering adding updated aerial maps to your solar lead workflow, there are four key things to keep in mind when choosing an aerial imagery solution:
- Currency. Current imagery can be compared side by side with historical imagery to understand growth patterns and trends, as well as shadow patterns during different times of day and seasons. It means you can keep tabs on solar updake in a particular suburb or street, and identify homeowners most likely to have an interest in a rooftop PV system. Currency also guarantees that you’re seeing the real condition of the home and roof — so on-site surprises are minimised.
- Accuracy. Whatever aerial imagery solution you choose should be as high resolution as possible, to ensure that measurements you make on the imagery are accurate. Once you identify prospect homes, you can speedily produce in initial quote over the phone, without the need for an initial site visit. With Nearmap, solar installers can accurately measure roof pitch and area, building heights, radius, line, and width from their desktop, laptop, or tablet, and provide an accurate estimate of materials and labour costs.
- Ease of access. Cloud-based aerial imagery solutions — as opposed to one-off imagery sets you contract from a survey provider — mean that your aerial imagery is “always on.” From your desk, you can survey a business development or entire neighbourhood for new developments, existing installations, and current roof conditions in a matter of minutes. Beats site visits any day.
- Coverage. The CEC’s postcode by postcode breakdown on solar installations highlights the areas of greatest opportunity. Solar providers can then access aerial maps to effectively identify the highest conversion areas. An aerial imagery source with wide-scale, consistent coverage of Australia’s most populated urban and regional areas means solar companies can instantly survey the solar hot spots.
THE SIZE OF THE OPPORTUNITY
While the rate of solar uptake across Australia is impressive, the total percentage of homes with solar power remains small, leaving plenty of room for expansion in the market. Across Australia 20.3% of homes, according to the latest data from the Clean Energy Regulator, have solar power — a capacity of 7.9 million kW. The state-by-state breakdown gives us a snapshot of the potential of the market left to penetrate.
With regular, comprehensive coverage of 88% of Australia’s population, Nearmap provides an easy way to survey residential rooftops in your market and develop your solar job pipeline.
Nearmap client NRG Solar, an installer in SA, has seen the benefits of aerial imagery firsthand. “With Nearmap’s image accuracy and powerful solar tools, we can quickly develop a high quality quotation via a web browser instead of relying on manual calculations. This saved us at least 25 hours per week for site visits and enhanced our credibility as a leading solar solution provider,” says Darren Vonthethoff, NRG state sales manager.
Another way solar retailers use current, clear aerial imagery is in visually impressive, polished quotes. With regularly updated aerial maps, solar installers can present the design in the context of the home’s current condition. It's a persuasive tool for closing the deal, and is more professional than a drawing or a design presented on low resolution satellite maps.
The best kept secret in solar is out: aerial imagery means money and time saved for solar installers, and a better, more predictable outcome for consumers. Learn more about how aerial imagery can help your solar business keep up with the Australian solar revolution: