Australia lags behind Dominican Republic in utility-scale solar

Deployment of utility-scale solar has skyrocketed for the fifth consecutive year, with total capacity now having reached 30.3GW, up from 21.5GW at the start of 2014.

Data released by utility-scale solar power database Wiki-Solar revealed the US leads the world in big solar, with 407 utility-scale plants at the end of September. It’s the first country to achieve 7GW of installed utility-scale PV capacity, with 7.08GW currently recorded.

Following the US is China, with 245 plants totalling 6.5GW, and Germany, with 281 plants and 3.46GW installed utility-scale capacity.

India (2.2 GW), the UK (1.9GW), Spain (1.7GW), Italy (901MW), Canada (896MW), France (819MW) and South Africa (680MW) rounded off the top 10. Boasting 20 plants, South Africa entered the top 10 for the first time, with the Northern Cape project – at more than 85MW peak – receiving special mention as one of the largest amorphous silicon solar cell installations in the world, as reported by RenewEconomy.

Notably, Japan’s 475MW of utility-scale capacity, while strong, is evidence of the country’s rapidly expanding residential and commercial scale sectors, which drive the bulk of its PV activity. Romania, Chile, Thailand and Ukraine complete the top 15 countries that, combined, account for 94 per cent of the entire world’s utility-scale solar PV capacity, as reported by PV Magazine.

Sitting at number 31 on the top 100 list of installed utility-scale solar PV is Australia, behind the Dominican Republic. However, Wiki-Solar’s Philip Wolfe acknowledged Australia’s position should improve once the 56MW Moree solar farm in New South Wales is connected to the grid.

“Grid-feeding solar generation continues to dazzle, with records being broken all over the place. The UK will probably be seen to have topped 2GW once the summer’s completed projects are incorporated into the register,” he said.

“Japan and Chile continue to climb the table and, with substantial capacity still under development, both will be vying for top 10 places before long.”