Resources for local energy committees

Learn more about global warming and energy issues in NH.

Australia has one solar power plant for every 10 residents

solar plants

In December 2018, Australia surpassed the milestone of two million installed solar power plants. Today, a year and a half later, another milestone has been surpassed.

As of July 2020, there are more than 2.5 million roof-mounted solar power plants with a total capacity of 1,837 megawatts (MW). Australia's population is approximately 25 million, respectively, one photovoltaic plant for every ten residents.

The information is published by the local publication RenewEconomy with reference to the analytical company SunWiz.

The Covid-19 pandemic has not affected market development. According to an analysis by Sunwiz, the growth of rooftop solar systems has continued at a record pace. In July alone, 275 MW of small distributed solar installation capacity was installed. Overall, more than 1,500 MW of solar power plants were installed in the first seven months of this year, an all-time record that exceeds the full annual volume of new installations in 2018.

Importantly, this growth comes against a backdrop of reduced financial incentives and feed-in tariffs in the sector. If the current pace is maintained, this year's volume of new solar rooftop capacity installed over the year could approach 3 GW.

This result is partly due to the continued growth in the average size of systems, which exceeded 8 kW this year. The segment of installations over 10 kilowatts is growing rapidly.

The market share of commercial and industrial roofing power plants is increasing. Installations on shopping malls, warehouses and schools are seen as attractive business investments.

Given the speed at which solar generation is spreading, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) wants to introduce new inverter standards and new protocols that will allow it to "see" solar installations "behind the meter" and enable remote control of these distributed systems.

There are also plans to change energy market rules to encourage networks to invest more in farm extensions to better adapt to the growing amount of solar energy. In addition, special fees are being considered for large exporters of solar electricity generated by rooftop power plants (incentives for own consumption).

The share of solar power in electricity generation in Australia was about 8% at the end of 2019. On the other hand, the increase in the installation of private (home) solar power plants in Australia has provoked that 25% of them do not meet electrical safety requirements. This was the conclusion reached by Australia's National Audit Office in its 2018 report.

Future plans

By 2050, one-third of the country's electricity consumption will be self-generated by Australians, using solar panels on their roofs and energy storage systems in their homes. That will make it possible for Australian households to save on utility bills and become full-fledged players on the energy market. Thus, the future of energy in Australia in the private sector looks very profitable.

Australia already has the world's first decentralized power exchange, deX. Owners of solar panels sell their surplus electricity online and join with other users to create virtual power plants. When several thousand solar panels are combined, the total capacity of the virtual power plant reaches several megawatts.