Australia has seen a sharp rise in interest in solar energy in recent years. With about 4,000 MW of solar installed between June 2020 and June 2021, the country’s rate of solar PV adoption is at an all-time high. Australia’s installed solar PV capacity increased to 22,295 MW as a result of these installations. About 22.5 TWh, or 9.9% of the power produced in Australia in 2020, came from solar PV.
However, solar energy is expanding rapidly in Australia. The nation’s solar energy sector currently employs roughly 10,000 people. By 2035, this number is anticipated to double. Read on to learn more about the five key elements that this essay focuses on as they support the expansion of solar in Australia.
History of Solar Power
When Edmond Becquerel, a 19-year-old French chemist, discovered the photovoltaic phenomenon, the solar energy revolution had just begun. The capacity of materials to generate energy when exposed to light is known as the photovoltaic effect. The discovery made by Becquerel marked the beginning of humankind’s quest to harness the sun’s limitless power.
In the 1800s and the first part of the 1900s, advancements in solar photovoltaic technology were slow and far between. The globe did not start to take solar into consideration as a potential alternative energy source until the 1970s. Governments and research organisations focused resources on creating fossil fuel substitutes as a result of the 1973 and 1979 oil crises. As a result, solar technology started to grow quickly and gradually became more and more commonplace.
Solar In Australia
Australia has a more than 60-year history with solar technology. The first operational solar hot water system in the world was created in the 1950s by an Australian corporation called CSIRO. Telecom Australia started modifying solar panels from spacecraft in 1978 to power telecommunication in rural areas of the nation.
In 1989, Australian researchers at the University of New South Wales created the first solar PV system in the world with a 20% efficiency (UNSW). In 2005, the nation rose to the position of fourth-largest solar energy generator in the world. More than 40% of residents in Queensland and South Australia used solar PV panels in 2014.
Factors Supporting the Growth of Solar in Australia
All throughout the world, solar power is expanding. Nevertheless, a number of variables encourage the quick adoption of solar PV panels. lower down. The expansion of solar in Australia is being driven by the five variables listed below.
1. High Solar Potential
Due to its geographic location on the planet, Australia receives superb sun radiation all year round. The nation gets 4 KWh/m2/day on average in the winter and 6 KWh/m2/day in the summer.
High amounts of sun insolation increase the performance and, as a result, viability of solar PV installations in Australia. As a result, homeowners require fewer rooftop solar panel installations to power their residences. Australia’s current rooftops can accommodate the installation of up to 179 GW of solar energy, according to studies by UNSW.
2. Enabling Environment
To promote the use of solar energy, the Australian government and regulatory bodies have implemented rules and incentives. The investment barrier for solar PV systems can be overcome by homeowners and independent electricity producers thanks to these incentives. They also reduce the time it takes for solar energy investments to pay for themselves. Here are a few of the current enabling laws and incentives in Australia.
- Small-scale Renewable Energy Target (SRET):: According to this regulation, the Australian power networks must source a specific percentage of their electricity from small-scale producers of renewable energy. People are encouraged by the policy to install small-scale renewable energy producers. Small scale solar generators are those that don’t produce more than 100 kW.
- Solar Feed-in-Tariffs: The government created feed-in tariffs, which promised small-scale solar panel systems a profit for the electricity they produced, to promote the use of solar energy. A net metering scheme has replaced the feed-in tariff as of late. This approach subtracts the power you use from the power you produce. The owner of the grid then reimburses you for the extra electricity you provide into it.
3. Record low prices of Solar Panels
Since the 1980s, the broad acceptance and demand for solar energy have led to enormous technological advancements. In actuality, the cost of solar PV per watt decreased globally from approximately 105 USD in 1975 to 30 USD in 1980. In 2013, the cost of solar PV per watt was less than $1; by 2020, it was 0.2.
Solar energy adoption in Australia is being sparked by the low cost of solar PV systems and the rising cost of fossil fuels. Even without government subsidies, solar energy is currently much less expensive than the grid.
4. High off-grid solar potential
Despite being the sixth-largest nation in the world, Australia has the seventh-lowest population density. In Australia, there are three persons per square kilometre of land. It can be difficult to link every residence to the grid due to the size of the terrain.
The majority of Australia’s major cities and the coastline are served by its power transmission networks. As a result, it is difficult to get electricity to isolated and rural places in the interior. At the moment, 28% of Australians reside in rural and remote locations.
Individual solar PV systems offer practical alternatives for persons living in rural areas of the nation. These systems rely on solar power in the daytime and a generator or battery backup at night. They provide independence from the grid and can be modified to meet your energy requirements.
5. Green energy revolution
A global green revolution has been brought about by people’s growing understanding of climate change and its repercussions. More people than ever before are aware of the advantages of solar power. Many people are switching to solar energy now for ethical reasons as opposed to economical ones.
Governmental organisations and authorities have established ambitious renewable energy targets as a result of the green energy revolution in Australia. As an illustration, Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator established a goal in 2018 to install 10,400 MW of renewable energy within two years. Additionally, the Department of Energy and Environment launched assistance initiatives like the Mission Innovation Champions Program. This initiative aimed to reward anyone who contributed to the creation of workable green energy initiatives or ideas.
Taking everything into account, the proportion of Australians who use renewable energy has increased from 5% in 2011 to 21% in 2019 and once again to 24% in 2021. It is clear that the trend toward the adoption of renewable energy sources like solar has changed. These developments have helped a number of organisations and solar energy suppliers start up and expand, giving Australians access to more sustainable energy sources and off-grid living options.2022-10-29 20:39:01