Battery storage system installations tripled and more than 1.1GW of rooftop solar was installed last year, according to a new report.
The Clean Energy Australia Report has revealed 2017 was a record year for the renewable energy industry.
Launching the report, Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said the insights are just a glimpse of the unprecedented level of activity expected in the next couple of years.
Mr Thornton said the 1.1 GW of new rooftop solar capacity last year was the most in Australian history, eclipsing the previous record in 2012, and the 16 large-scale renewable energy projects completed during the year added 700MW of new generation to the mix.
“Perhaps most significantly, the large-scale renewable projects either under construction or which had attracted finance add up to more than seven times the amount of work completed in 2017,” Mr Thornonton said.
“These 50 projects add up to 5300MW of new capacity and 5750 direct jobs.
“There are now enough projects in the system to meet the 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET).
“Given we were only about halfway to the large-scale target at the beginning of 2017, it shows the remarkable level of deal-making and project activity during the year.
“However, it also shows that long-term bipartisan policy has been critical for investment in the energy sector, and that policy certainty beyond 2020 is becoming increasingly urgent.”
The report also revealed the installation rate of household batteries across the country tripled in 2017, rising to 20,789 units from 6750 the year before.
The Clean Energy Australia Report is a summary of the previous year in clean energy and provides insight into the exciting future for the sector.
One of the changes from previous years is that hydro generation was significantly down in 2017 compared to the year before, mostly as a result of reduced rainfall in key catchment areas.
While the drop in hydro was mostly offset by a rise in other kinds of renewable energy generation, the overall percentage of clean energy in the national mix dipped slightly from 17.3 to 17 per cent.
“The RET has been the key policy encouraging investment in both small and large-scale renewable energy, and the large number of projects which will come online over the next few years is predicted to reduce power prices by an average of 6.2 per cent,” Mr Thornton said.
“With the 2020 target now in hand, the whole energy sector is looking for policy certainty that will enable it to continue to invest far beyond 2020.
“The development of the National Energy Guarantee seems to be heading in the right direction, but the level of emissions reduction currently planned under the policy is unlikely to encourage the new renewable energy to continue to drive down power prices as our old coal power plants continue to close.”
According to the report, power prices are expected to fall by 6 per cent on average in the next two years as more wind and solar power comes online.