South Australia sets world record in rooftop solar

Rooftop solar panels on homes with tiled roofs (potential)
Image: Shutterstock

South Australia’s electricity distribution network has achieved a world record, with SA Power Networks reporting negative demand on five days since September 26 due to the output of rooftop solar more than meeting electricity demand on the network.

On September 26, 2021, for the first time, the distribution network managed by SA Power Networks became a net exporter for 2.5 hours with load dipping below zero (to -30MW). Similar events were also achieved on each Sunday in October.

The net load for the South Australian distribution network was negative for nearly four hours on October 31, dipping to a record -69.4MW at the half hour ending 1330 CSST (1300 EST).  

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This means the electricity distribution network was a net exporter to the upstream transmission network (something which is likely to become more common) for four hours—the longest duration seen so far in SA’s energy transition. 

“We are excited by the continued growth of rooftop solar,” SA Power Networks head of corporate affairs Paul Roberts said.

“Rooftop solar is contributing to decarbonisation of our energy and to lower energy prices. In the not too distant future, we expect to see South Australia’s energy needs during the middle parts of the day regularly being supplied 100 per cent from rooftop solar,” he said. 

“Longer term, we hope to see a transport system where most vehicles will be fuelled by renewable-sourced electricity, including from solar rooftop PV. It is exciting to think that South Australia is leading the world in this transition and there is so much possibility for us as a State in making it happen as quickly as we can.”
 

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