The record 1,057 megawatts of capacity in small-scale systems installed across the country smashed the previous record set in 2012, and had the capacity to produce the equivalent output of a medium-sized coal-fired power station.
It prompted a warning that the increase in supply to the grid could lead governments to cut feed-in tariffs because the power is “essentially worthless”.
Tony Wood, the director of the Grattan Institute’s energy program, said high solar take-up could have the unintended consequence of over-supplying the grid during low demand periods.
It would mean governments and retailers were subsidising solar energy that had no real value.
“If it becomes that inefficient, it’s not beyond reckoning that governments would think, ‘well, hang on, why are we doing this,’” he said.
“Obviously in the short term anyone benefiting from those subsidies doesn’t like it when it’s reduced or removed.”