Australian Climate Supports Growth in Solar and Wind Energy

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With rooftop solar installations increasing nationwide, Australia's transition to renewable energy sources is not slowing down. According to a recent ESAA (Energy Supply Association of Australia)  fact sheet, Australian renewable energy has seen an unprecedented rise in recent years as the country's weather has great potential for harnessing solar and wind energy . Here's an excerpt:

What is significant about Australia’s solar capacity is that it is almost entirely located on Australian rooftops. By 2015 more than one in seven Australian households had installed solar PV. This is a 15 per cent penetration rate across all Australian households. In South Australia and Queensland the household penetration rate is 25 and 24 per cent respectively. Some suburbs in greater Brisbane and Adelaide have recorded household solar PV penetration rates above 50 per cent...

Across the US, just 0.5 per cent of households (600,000) have solar PV installed. The US-based Solar Energy Industries Association recently highlighted that America could have 3.3 million households with solar installed by 2020.6 In contrast, Australia already has 1.4 million small-scale installations with less than one-tenth the population of the US. By contrast,

Australia has few utility-scale solar installations. The recently opened 102 MW solar PV plant at Nyngan is the only large-scale example, although smaller facilities exist around Alice Springs, Western Australia and Queensland. By contrast, California has more than 7.3 gigawatts (GW) of large-scale solar capacity out of a total 9.4 GW of installed capacity.7 Spain, and Italy have also developed large amounts of utility-scale solar PV and solar thermal power.

Total cumulative world wind capacity stood at 369 GW at the end of 2014, while solar PV surpassed 150 GW globally in early 2014. Australia does not feature in the top 10 countries on cumulative capacities for either wind or solar. When considering combined wind and solar capacity per capita by country, Australia is currently ranked 8th in the world. The country with the highest capacity of wind and solar is Denmark, followed by Germany, Spain and Sweden. Australia is ranked, on a per capita basis, ahead of the UK and the US.

To see the ESAA fact sheet, click here.