Solar power has gone beyond a revolution on everyone’s rooftops. It’s forging ahead to a nice position where it will become the dominant form of new power generation as reported on AFR.
Thanks to the fast price reductions that have surprised even the experts, large-scale solar is on the verge of changing Australia’s energy mix, whatever the outcome of the July 2nd election. It’s been predicted that in less than 10 years, the only new generation capacity that will get constructed in Australia will be solar, with one or two exceptions.
Although wind power is still set to dominate renewable energy investments up to 2020 to meet the Renewable Energy Target, it may find it hard after that in attracting new investments. McKinsey expects a slowing of sorts of generation investment in the 2020 to 2025 period when none is needed. After that, when new capacity is needed to help replace some of the older coal plants, solar will have to come to the top and will squeeze out competing technologies. According to Christiaan Heyning, wind power is likely to find itself limited to niche locations.
Mitchell King, founder of Lighthouse Infrastructure in Melbourne, stated that Australia is quickly approaching the tipping point in its transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. He’s expecting enormous growth in solar capacity in the national electricity market, with just over 4 gigawatts at present to 52 gigawatts by 2040 and requires $40 billion investment or $3 billion every year.
Generations from solar rooftop panels are expected to reach 25,400 gigawatts-hours by 2035, which offsets about 13.8% of consumption that would be sourced from the grid, this is according to the Australian Energy market Operator’s recent forecast. It’s also a fact that the rise of rooftop solar is the biggest factor behind the forecast that this month and during the next 20 years, the demand for power from the grid will be flat despite the expected 30% growth in population. Plus the rise in solar battery purchase only motivates the trend.
With the acres of open land in Australia and thousands of megawatts of coal-fired that are heading for retirement, everything is set. It was confirmed by ARENA’s large-scale solar PV funding, which closed last week with 20 solar projects’ application worth $1.6 billion.