Australian solar industry hits major milestones

Roberstown, Canadian Solar, Mobilong Solar Farm, Australian solar, clean energy

The future of Australian solar is looking brighter than ever with the industry smashing multiple records in the month of September.

These included crossing 10 gigawatts of installed solar, the most solar registered in a month, and registering two of the country’s largest solar farms, new analysis from the Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI) shows.

Analysing data from the Clean Energy Regulator, APVI found that Australia now has 10.1GW of installed solar, which is capable of delivering 14.6 Terawatt hours (TWhrs), and meeting more than 5.5 per cent of Australia’s energy demand.

More than 725MW of total new solar capacity was also registered in September, the largest volume of new solar recorded for a single month.

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Australian Photovoltaic Institute chair Renate Egan says solar’s record-breaking September is an exceptionally high point in an extraordinary year for investment and growth in solar energy.

“This isn’t just good for the solar industry—Australia’s solar boom is also delivering huge benefits to rural and regional Australia,” he says.

“Every gigawatt of solar involves installing and connecting more than three million solar panels. This creates more than 1000 full-time jobs a year, and a further 30-100 ongoing positions are created in operations and maintenance.”

The record-breaking new solar capacity was due to the registration of two of Australia’s largest solar farms in September: 180MW for Daydream Solar Farm, and 188MW for Coleambally Solar Farm.

The already-operational Bungala Two solar project in South Australia also registered another 138MW of new solar, doubling its capacity to become the biggest solar farm in the country.

“In total, 667MW of large-scale solar was registered in September 2018, the largest utility-scale count for a single month,” Egan says.

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“This broke a previous record set just two months prior, when 393MW of large scale solar was registered in July.”

While new commercial and residential rooftop solar installations take longer to register, APVI expects another 100MW to have been installed in September, consistent with past months.

“With 1.95 million installations to date and more than 15,000 new ones each month, Australia is on track to break through two million solar installations by the end of the year” Egan says.

“Solar records are falling like dominoes, and the enthusiasm for investment in renewable energy generation from Australian homeowners and businesses should send a loud and clear message to policymakers.

“Whether from an economic, environmental or investment perspective, the case for solar is clear and it’s what the people want.

“Our leaders should waste no time in introducing effective, ambitious renewable energy policies to support Australia’s transition to an affordable, clean energy future.”