“Solar is playing an increasingly important role in Australia’s energy mix,” said the CEO of the country’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation, adding that both the residential and commercial solar industries are ramping up.
Oliver Yates, CEO of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), spoke at the Australian Solar Council’s Solar 2015 Conference in Melbourne, and said that the CEFC is working to support the Australian commercial solar market, “by financing the innovative use of solar technologies across a broad range of industries.” The country already has 4 GW of rooftop solar PV installed, with residential solar accounting for the bulk of that capacity. Nevertheless, commercial solar is now starting to grow in demand, making up just under 25% of new solar PV installed.
“We expect this trend to continue, as more businesses experience the benefits of solar in helping them bring down their energy and operating costs over time,” Mr Yates said.
“The emergence of battery technology in particular is likely to be a game changer for commercial solar, because of its ability to improve the reliability of supply. Solar homes typically use solar for about 30 per cent of their electricity needs. With battery storage, this could be boosted to over 70 per cent, an indication of the scale of the potential benefits for commercial solar. Solar with storage can also reduce the reliance on diesel-fired generators in remote areas.”
This encouraging news comes at the same time that the country’s politicians are still embroiled in the debate over the country’s renewable energy target, and may play a part in affecting the views of those partaking in discussions and debates. Given that solar seems to be doing relatively well, despite the masses of investment and job losses that have happened over the past 18 months, Australia may still have the opportunity to build a healthy renewable energy industry.