Australia is a good place to start rooftop PV dominance. The coming decades will see its transition to mainly sun-powered.
Australia will surely house more rooftop PV projects. There’s volatile electricity rates and decreasing solar panel cost. Moreover, it is home to a number of environment-conscious households and businesses.
There’s no place like it in terms of going solar. It has plenty of sunshine as well as open spaces for large-scale solar projects. It also keeps up with technology trends.
Leading the new set of power source in the country
In less than a decade, solar will be the only new generation capacity that will be constructed in Australia. There may be one or two exceptions, though, according to management consulting firm, McKinsey.
Wind will still dominate until 2020 to satisfy the Renewable Energy Target. However, it will have a hard time attracting investments after that.
For Lighthouse Infrastructure’s Mitchell King, Australia will experience tremendous growth. Solar capacity in the national electricity market will increase from the current 4GW to 52GW by 2040. Investments will be $3 billion a year or $40 billion total.
The future of rooftop PV and battery storage
Solar investment focuses on rooftop PV, save for few distant, off-grid projects. 5 million residents are currently using solar-equipped rooftop. The number continues to rise, along with battery purchases, consequently influencing The Australian Energy Market Operator’s forecasts.
According to AEMO, power demand from the grid will be flat for the next two decades. This is despite the predicted 30 per cent increase in population and LNG production capacity surge. By 2035, rooftop PV generation is estimated to reach 25,400 gigawatt-hours.
Thanks to solar power, the grid will save some 13.8 per cent of consumption.
Solar energy for commercial and utility
Home solar panels are getting much attention. Despite that, King infers that commercial and utility will be solar market scene-stealers. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) sees an 11 per cent jump in solar PV global electricity share by 2030.
One of the reasons behind this is the estimated 59% price decrease in the next ten years. Utility-scale solar PV went from US5-10¢ a kWh in Europe, China, India and the US. In Peru and Mexico, the price went as low as US5¢. And in a competitive solar PV auction in Dubai, it was a record-breaking US2.99¢/kWh.
The Dubai price isn’t likely to happen in Australia. Citigroup sees 10-11¢/kWh as a more realistic figure. However, since Australia is not scarce in land and coal-fired plants won’t be around for long, solar takeover is set.