Solar Seen As A Disruptive Technology

Here's an interesting piece from The Conversation that shows solar energy at the tipping point as its business competitiveness accelerates leaving standard network power in the dust.  Well worth a read:

In his media conference immediately after winning the Liberal leadership, Malcolm Turnbull had some words to say on the subject of technology:

We have to recognise that the disruption that we see driven by technology, the volatility in change is our friend if we are agile and smart enough to take advantage of it.

In his previous job as communications minister, Turnbull would have been very familiar with the Internet’s capacity as a “disruptive” technology – one with the power to disrupt existing business models and render them obsolete. But it is in the power sector where the most disruptive potential is arguably now to be found.

While predecessor Tony Abbott placed his faith in fossil fuels and expressed a distaste for renewables, Australia has been quietly but dramatically embracing solar energy. Our research suggests a strong future for disruptive green innovations that are being developed faster here than elsewhere, offering a new industrial option as the resources boom tails off.

Solar rises in the west

Its always hard to know when innovation is going to be disruptive when it is happening around you. But from our research on green innovation here in Perth, we think the chances are high that we are in the midst of some disruptive green innovations that will be globally significant.

The key to this is the remarkable adoption of solar energy. In just a few years more than 190,000 Perth households have put solar panels on their rooftops – that is one in five homes or 490 megawatts of power, making these rooftops effectively the city’s biggest power station. Nationally, more than 1.4 million households now have solar panels. Few places in the world have adopted solar energy at such a rate.

But the uptake in solar power is set to receive another burst of acceleration, as the combination of solar panels with storage batteries becomes cost-effective and enters the mainstream.

As the chart (above) shows, solar cells, combined with lithium ion phosphate battery storage is about to become cheaper than the standard residential tariff for electricity customers on Western Australia’s main energy network.

Read the full article here.