Australia hits solar milestone

Australians are now generating enough power from the sun to light up all homes in Brisbane and Perth combined.

Figures released overnight by solar energy consultancy firm SunWiz show there is now 5GW of solar power installed across the country, with Queensland leading the charge. To put this into perspective, enough solar power is being generated to light up 1.25 million households.

Solar power now makes up 9 per cent of Australia’s total electricity generation capacity (56GW) with more solar power added to the system last year than any other fuel source. Last year alone, 913MW of solar was added to the grid.

By comparison, 774MW of new wind power was connected to the national energy market last year, while 1300MW of coal power was decommissioned.

SunWiz managing director Warwick Johnston said solar power output is expected to keep growing in 2016, but not at the same rapid rate.

“Last year, the Australian solar industry grew overall, but this was primarily due to large-scale solar power stations coming online. Other major solar projects are in the pipeline, but are unlikely to be built until 2017 and onwards,” he said.

With the largest penetration of rooftop solar in the world, Mr Johnston also said Australia should expect the volume of residential sales to slow down.

“Batteries are obviously starting to create a buzz in the marketplace, but sellers are not expecting to shift high volumes until prices become more competitive,” he said.

Breakdown of total installed solar capacity (kW):

New South Wales1,230,517
South Australia635,873
Western Australia554,689
Northern Territory36,911
Australia (total)5,000,951