Giles Parkinson really has his finger on the pulse of what's happening in the solar market in Australia --and it isn't pretty. We've gotten past the point of showing solar's viability and now are entering a period when it's clear some of the big incumbent energy providers are scrambling to insure that they somehow fit into the brave new world of cheap solar and revolutionary batteries --when all of their expensive poles and wires become a lot less valuable. All the while, the future of distributed power marches on. Great article. Here's an excerpt and link below:
Almost everywhere, and from nearly every corner, we hear the refrain: The solar revolution is coming and it is unstoppable. There is now general agreement – from analysts, researchers, the industry, market pundits – that energy markets are being transformed, and half our power needs will be self-generated within a few decades.
Unstoppable thought this force may well be, it seems it can certainly be slowed. And recent Australian pricing decisions suggest that the incumbents are doing their level best to make hay, not so much while the sun still shines, but while policy and pricing regulators are happy to keep moving the goal posts to protect revenue streams.
The forecasts seem emphatic. The Australian Energy Market Operator predicts that rooftop solar will amount to 25,000MW by 2025. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts 37,000MW by 2040.Investment banking giant UBS suggested, in one “dream” scenario, solar could provide half the world’s power needs by 2050.
Even the owner of Australia’s biggest coal-fired generator concedes that half of all demand will be met by distributed energy, mostly solar on rooftops of homes and business, and through battery storage. The big “gentailers” – both in Australia and overseas – are busily revising their business models to make sure they are not left behind.
Over the last few weeks, however, there have been some disturbing trends, suggesting that the solar industry has a major battle on its hands, even if the flagship policy, the Renewable Energy Target, remains untouched for small-scale installations, the Abbott government seems intent on giving big solar a boost.