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Published on September 4th, 2013 | by Giles Parkinson

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Top 20 Utility Scale Solar Countries

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September 4th, 2013 by  

Originally published on RenewEconomy.

The latest update of utility scale solar developments round the world shows that the US has just joined China as the second country to have installed more than 3 GW of “big solar,” and will soon be joined by Germany.

But Australia still does not make the big solar top 20 list compiled by Wiki-Solar — although countries such as Ukraine, Portugal, Thailand, the Czech Republic, Peru, Romania and Bulgaria do.

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Australia has only installation – the Greenough River solar farm in WA – that meets the 10MW qualification for inclusion in the table, although four other projects are due to be built over the next two years. One, the 20MW Royalla project, reached financial close last week and will be the first to obtain bank finance in the country.

Two others are to be built in the ACT under that government’s solar auction program and the other, the 155MW AGL Energy project at Broken Hill and Nyngan, will begin construction next year.

Wiki-Solar says it is thinking of redefining the cut-off for “big solar” to 5MW, given that many projects in Germany and other countries are being built in that range.

If that were to happen,  China, Germany and the USA would still be the only three countries in the 3-4GW range, and India and Spain would rank next with between 1 and 2GW. It would double the number of projects world wide to be included in the table, but would not change Australia’s ranking. It doesn’t have any projects between 1.5MW and 1oMW either.

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About the Author

is the founding editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.



  • Louis

    10MW? Utility Solar is anything over 1 or 2 MW on the ground. This picture would look very different after the top 3 countries if you consider even anything over 5MW – which is a pretty big farm.

    This information is available and would give a much better picture as to where the really hot markets are.

  • JamesWimberley

    Why should you worry about Australia´s ranking on this artificial list? I don´t fully buy in to the ¨energy democracy¨ mantra, since we will always need some big infrastructure (CSP, long-distance transmission, pumped storage, geothermal, tidal, etc.). It´s still true that 10,000 5kw rooftop installations provide a social and political benefit that one 50 MW utility plant does not, though it has the same output.
    In low-density Australia the issue of land take, serious in Europe, may not be very important. Utility plants in the US Southwest have run into opposition from conservationists.

  • Miles

    It’s such a disgrace that Australia isn’t shown within the top 20 in the list. The country is bathed in sunlight yet our Government “Corrupt politicians” simply don’t care enough to make a difference. More taxes this year = more government wasteful spending of our tax dollars. Nothing done to reduce the cost of living. It really is a country where we are slaves to this backward Government.

  • Shiggity

    Giles, did you read anything about connection issues in China? I read somewhere that they are throwing up solar left and right but they aren’t getting connected to the grid for months at a time. Mainly because their best solar resources are way out in the boonies I think.

    +1 to the US beating China by only a few GW this year so far!

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