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Australia bets its energy future on Solar

Forecast for the future – sunny! 

If you look at Australia’s power consumption statistics, one in four houses has a solar power system. Sounds interesting, isn’t it? Australians continue to lead the world in uptake of rooftop solar, with three million solar systems installed across Australia. 

Due to the sudden rise in Solar PV Installations in Australia since 2018, the country has emerged as a strong leader in Solar PV development. 

According to data released by Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator (CER), Australia has installed 729 MW of rooftop solar capacity in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021, an 8% increase compared to 677 MW in the same period last year.

South Australia generated more solar power than the grid’s total electricity demand on October 11, 2020.  The entire state was completely solar-powered. 

Rooftop solar leads the show

Australia has observed a significant adoption of rooftop solar. Rooftop solar PV adoption has gained momentum and in some provinces of Australia, the percentage has gone up by 40 per cent. Along with government policies that support rooftop solar growth, the citizens also benefit through lower electricity bills and high energy security.  The rate of adoption for rooftop solar in Australia is higher than the global average. 

The solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in Australia is estimated to reach 80.22 GW in 2030 from 17.99 GW in 2020. By 2030, renewable power capacity, driven mostly by solar PV installations is set to reach 69.9 percent. Looking to the future, Australia’s rooftop market is expected to remain strong through to 2030.

Sun shines as power demand drops

South Australia is known to have some of the highest solar power adoption rates. And it is not just restricted to Australia, but also globally. Sunday October 11, 2020, marked a milestone around noon when it began generating 100% of its electricity demand with solar panels.

It also lit the neighboring state of Victoria, whose imports of power exactly balance South Australia’s excess generation. South Australia is the hope of the future, a future in which electricity is clean, abundant to the point of excess, and sometimes a healthy challenge to manage.

High hopes on renewable energy generation

The government, in its climate action plan, wants renewable generation in the state to reach 500% of current grid demand by mid-century. That level is well in excess of any expected demand growth from the residential and commercial sectors. 

Australia’s abundant renewable power resources should be used to make zero-emissions hydrogen, which should then be used to make zero-emissions iron and steel. Also, additional green power generated could go beyond just enabling industrial decarbonization and should attract companies seeking to reduce the carbon intensity of their output.

Record rooftop solar energy installations

Government’s Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme is helping kindergartens, schools, community centres, pubs, clubs and many homes to enjoy the benefits of rooftop solar. Solar energy production in Australia increases to 6.4% of the total power generation in Australia, according to International Energy Agency (IEA) report. This success is driven by the technology advance, lower cost and the increased social awareness. Solar photovoltaic (PV) accounted for 21.7% of Australia’s total power capacity in 2020 and this is estimated to reach 47.56% in 2030. 

These are just some of the ways that Australia is looking to tap on the abundant energies of the sun. By choosing to use the solar energy to power their homes, businesses and community spaces, Australians are helping build our clean energy future and are taking control of their power bills. 

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