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Jan, 2014

Status of solar power in Australia

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Clean Energy Council

In March 2013 the number of solar power installations reached 1 million in Australia, and this represented around 1500 MW of capacity. By the end of 2013 there was 2000 MW (or 2 GW) of installed solar power capacity, and around 1.15 million installations of solar power. Some predict that there will be 6 GW installed  by 2020, which means that the future for solar in Australia is bright.

The economics of solar, including the current low price of systems, and the rising price of power has lead to an increase in uptake across Australia – including those areas where smaller feed in tariffs are offered.

Much of the growth is with commercial solar for business which is more likely to have the roofspace for a system and the usage during sunlight hours which is essential.

Part of the growth in commercial solar is also due to new financial options which means that businesses are able to invest in solar with little or no upfront investment. These options will continue to cause growth with solar, as it matures from the need for government incentives to be viable.

Source: Clean Energy Australia Report, CEC 2012

Renewables make up around 13% of all electricity generated (2012 figure) and solar makes  up less  than 10% of that.

Renewable energy also employs over 24,000 people in Australia.

However, none of these numbers gives business owners a reason to choose solar, but  they do prove that it is a viable options for millions of people, and is worth investigating.

Other than the benefit to the environment, the main reason solar will succeed is actually good old fashioned self interest – what it will do for you.

Solar offers business owners the chance to invest in a capital item which has a predictable and bankable payback of around 4-7 years.

The development of new financial products around solar mean that common reasons to not invest such as “there’s no spare capital” can be circumnavigated. Through some leasing solutions and  power purchasing agreements (PPAs) we can offer solar with no upfront investment and solar can also be self financing through the savings it provides.

Our prediction for the nest few years is a growth in the number of systems installed, an increased number of financial solutions, increases in system prices (due to recovery of panel suppliers, and global prices rising, as well as a lower  Australian dollar).

Another prediction is that we expect to see power storage become a financially viable solution in the next few years.

The main risk to the industry will be changes to the last remaining assistance in the industry, the small-scale technology certificate (STC) elegibility which currently offers a simple mechanism for assistance worth about 1/3 of a system cost for systems up to 100kW (over 100kW, the alternative system of LGCs is also beneficial, but the benefit is  claimed annually for 20 years rather than an upfront saving, which is far less attractive).

The starting point to investigate solar for your business is to provide some information such as power price and usage, and we can provide a Solar Business Case for you showing how you can benefit.