Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Clean Power

Australian Rooftop Solar Reaches 3 GW

 Originally published on RenewEconomy

Australia has passed through another significant solar milestone, reaching 3,000 MW (3 GW) of solar PV this month, as Queensland nudged the 1 GW mark and states such as South Australia reached household penetration rates of 25 per cent.

“Solar power is reshaping Australia’s electricity market,” says Warwick Johnston, the head of solar research group SunWiz, who compiled the data. “This is a milestone as note-worthy as the one millionth solar power system that was installed in April.”

The growth in solar PV in Australia is quite remarkable, given that Australia’s capacity was barely more than 180 MW in 2009. Much of this growth came as a result of generous feed in tariffs, but the growth continues as a new generation of households look to solar to hedge against the rising cost of grid-based electricity, to make a statement about green energy, or to do both.

Australia is almost unique in the world in having its solar installations almost exclusively in rooftop solar PV. That, according to Johnston, now totals 3 GW on its own, mostly residential but also on a growing number of commercial rooftops, such as wineries.

Australia has only one solar PV array above 1.2 MW, the 10 MW Greenough River solar farm in Western Australia, although three projects have begun or are about to begin construction in the ACT, and the 102 MW Nyngan project will also begin construction in January. Others are in the wings. To put this into comparison, the Japanese market is expected to install 9 GW of solar in 2013 alone, much of it at commercial or larger scale.

Sunwiz Australia solarSome other striking figures in the latest data release from SunWiz include the penetration rates in individual states.

Johnston says that nationwide, 14 per cent of dwellings host solar power systems; and one in four dwellings in South Australia have rooftop solar. Queensland has a penetration rate of 22 per cent, and WA 18 per cent.

This is having an impact on Australian electricity markets. Here’s another interesting statistic: At midday on Sunday, September 29, solar power contributed to 9.4 per cent of electricity demand in the National Electricity Market, and 28 per cent in the state of South Australia.

Over the winter months, solar power contributed to 1.4% of total power consumption in the National Electricity Market, reaching a daily peak of 2.75% of energy NEM-wide production on September’s “Solar Sunday”, Johnston says. (See the graph below).

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 9.24.26 pm

The solar market is having an impact on incumbent fossil fuel generators, and network operators. That’s because solar reduces demand from the grid, and also takes away revenues on what has traditionally been the most profitable part of the day for generators.

Queensland state-owned generator Stanwell Corp blamed solar for most of its woes, the decline of base-load generation and its inability to return a profit from generation last financial year. As Hugh Saddler remarks in another story today, some of its generators are operating at less than 50 per cent capacity. Many industry experts suggest solar is having such an impact on electricity markets that it is causing a near equal amount of fossil fuel generation to be mothballed or closed.

The SunWiz report says that the solar market has contracted from its giddy, FiT-inspired peaks in the middle of 2012, but it is now stable. However, profitability for industry players remains a challenge, although the customer is benefiting. The months of October and November both recorded around 75 MW of installations.

The average rooftop system has jumped to 4.3kW, the most popular size is now between 3kW and 5kW (depending on the state and its solar resources) up from 1.5kW, and 5 per cent of systems are more than 8kW (the average in the US).

South Australia boasted an average size of 4.8kW and that state overtook Queensland to be the largest market in Australia over the last two months. Localities such as Hilton, Lonsdale, Rosewater and Emu Flat set records for installations.

More information on the SunWiz data can be found here.

Australia solar Sunwiz

 
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
 

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Electrifying Industrial Heat for Steel, Cement, & More


I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Written By

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.

Comments

You May Also Like

Cars

The BMW i3 wasn’t quite up to standard for motoring enthusiast and mechanical engineer David. So, he waited to close to the end of...

Clean Power

One of the enduring pieces of FUD misinformation that circulates in the miasma of the internet is that wind turbines (and other materials that...

Clean Transport

Lack of knowledge on the part of support personnel leads to bureaucratic bungles and frustration for the consumer.

Batteries

As at the end of December 2022, there were over 27 million EVs cumulatively sold around the world over the past decade or so...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.

Advertisement