Solar Overtakes Wind As Australia’s Number One Renewable Energy

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Originally published on Solar Love

Solar PV became Australia’s number one source of renewable energy in 2014, passing 4 GW of installed capacity, overtaking wind’s 3.8 GW.

The new figures came by way of energy insight company, GlobalData, and its new report, Asia-Pacific Renewable Energy Policy Handbook 2015, which details renewable energy policy measures and incentives throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

According to GlobalData’s accompanying press release, the report “states that renewables have become an integral part of the energy policy in Australia” — which could be argued, depending on GlobalData’s meaning here. While renewable energy is indeed an integral part of energy policy here in Australia, this is only the case insomuch as you consider the amount of time spent arguing about renewable’s place in energy policy here in Australia. There are any number of examples across Australia that show renewable energy is not an integral part of existing energy policy.

Nevertheless, recent leadership changes in Australia have bolstered renewable energy’s role in the future of Australia’s energy policy and energy mix, which bodes well for the future of the industry.

“The government recently announced the revised Renewable Energy Target (RET) to support emission-intensive industries and slightly reduced the RET from 41 Terawatt hours (TWh) to 33 TWh,” explained Siddhartha Raina, GlobalData’s Senior Analyst covering Power. “Despite this, new renewable energy capacity of 6 GW still needs to be installed by 2020.”

Despite all of the flux around Australia’s renewable energy industry over the past few years, GlobalData points to the continued growth of Australia’s solar PV industry, which in 2014 reached 4 GW of installed capacity, overtaking wind power’s 3.8 GW.

GlobalData also believes that, while solar and wind will continue their role as the two main renewable energy technologies in Australia, bioenergy is next to make a move.

“While feed-in tariffs and renewable energy target schemes, along with other subsidies and support initiatives, have had a major impact on the solar PV and wind industries, the impact of such programs on biopower and small hydro has been minimal,” Siddhartha Raina explains.

“Despite this, strong government backing is expected to promote stable growth in the bioenergy sector. Bioenergy capacity amounted to 573.9 Megawatts in 2014 and is expected to more than treble to 1.8 GW by the end of 2025.”

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

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4 thoughts on “Solar Overtakes Wind As Australia’s Number One Renewable Energy

  • Solar has hardly overtaken wind as the number one renewable energy in Australia. Wind is most likely generating twice as much as solar.

    • PV capacity factor can be 25% on fixed axis panels in good solar conditions. Wind at present is also in that ballpark. Wind in great locations on very high mounts can hit 50% or more. PV on dual axis in great locations can max at 35%. Seasonally though, PV can go into the 42% range, such as at latitudes around 50 in sunny areas. Off shore wind could also go above 60%.

      (My personal best recorded day for tracking PV on the longest day of the year, was 20 kwh from a 1.8 kw array… at 51 degrees north latitude. That is 46% capacity factor!)

      • An excellent result on your tracker there, Vensonata.

        Here in Australia our wind capacity factor average quite high, about 33%, although I don’t know the exact figure at the moment. Solar capacity factors tend to be lower than one might expect for Australia, as our solar is mostly rooftop and our cities are quite intentionally built in the cloudiest areas of the continent. And our currently low solar feed-in tariffs discourage high capacity factors by encouraging self consumption, so people who are out of the house during most of the day may opt for west facing panels rather than north, which might produce 13% more electricity in total than north facing panels, depending on location. Or they might opt for a split east-west system.

        And on top of that there is an increasing habit of people to “oversize” (really it’s right size if it works best for the situation) their systems and install more PV capacity than inverter capacity now that PV modules have come down so far in cost.

    • Sounds like the battle of words on who is wind king China (must install capacity) or USA (most produced electric). It is all for the good, now come on Oz pump it up and double both numbers!

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