Solar briefly overtakes coal generation

Rooftop solar panels on suburban home (energy upgrades)
Rooftop solar panels (Image: Shutterstock)

Solar energy beat out coal as the leading source of power across the energy market for about half an hour on Friday, with the majority of generation coming from rooftop solar rather than solar farms, ABC News reports.

This is not the first time solar has led Australian generation, however, experts said it was the first time it had happened under relatively “normal” conditions.

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Energy Edge’s Joshua Stabler said, “This is the first time in business-as-usual that we’ve ever seen coal be dethroned as [the] number-one fuel source in the market.

“Coal has been at times up to 80 or 90 per cent of the amount of energy coming into the market.

“Which means that this is a big event.”

The milestone occurred around lunchtime on Friday, with solar making up roughly 40 per cent of the market share and coal taking up 38 per cent. This was followed by wind, hydropower and gas.

In total, renewables provided 60 per cent of the market’s power.

Mr Stabler said moments where coal takes a clear back seat in electricity production were going to become more common, particularly around this time of year when it’s sunny and temperatures are relatively mild.

“This is just the first of many events like this,” he said.

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“Each sort of spring-ish period, what we have is a lot of sun in the sky and not a lot of demand.

“What we will see is more and more events where solar becomes the number-one generator in the market over the September-October period, and in March and April.”

Read the full story here.

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