With the rate of Australian households going solar, experts claim that by the year 2040, the country will be able to overcome its dependency on fossil fuels. The director of the Australian National University, Professor Ken Baldwin stated that if the country doubles its rate of solar uptake and if wind energy sustains its current momentum, Australia could be just a few gigawatts short of its power requirement by 2030.
Professor Baldwin brought up the possibility that with Australian households going solar the country could be totally dependent on solar power instead of relying on the complicated and dangerous nuclear energy. This second option will require the importation of equipment and expertise. It would add up to the increasing costs of maintenance of nuclear reactors and their delicate infrastructures.
As proof of this trend, Australian home-owners (as well as businesses) continue to increase their installation of rooftop solar systems. The current rate of increase is more than 15,000 Australian households going solar a month. Data from Green Energy Trading showed that the peak capacity is now approaching 64.8 megawatts in June.
In the first half of 2014, a total of 92,045 homes installed an additional 389 megawatts of roof top solar. This figure was more than what the experts have predicted, but there are less Australian households going solar than when feed-in tariffs were at their peak.
The number of solar roof top installations in the country continued to increase despite the many problems that home-owners face. Queensland accounts for one third of all installations in Australia. It remains as the biggest market for solar power in the country.
The second largest market is Victoria, which overtook New South Wales, as well as South Australia. This market grew despite the complaints on many home-owners about higher tariffs for solar households, downsizing and connection refusals.
The installations in Queensland have grown faster. This encouraged network operators in Queensland to waive through home-owners applications – as long as home-owners don’t export the excess solar power back to the grid.
The only exception is South Australia, where Australian households going solar fell back instead of increasing. Its installations in the last few months was below its 12 month average, perhaps due to the winding back of the state’s feed-in tariffs.
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Why are Australian Households Going Solar?
Installing a rooftop solar system for the home is now more affordable. The cost of installation has considerably gone lower than the cost in 2002. Householders now have a greater incentive of lower installation costs than just the issue of reducing carbon footprint. It is now financially logical to install such a system.
The entry of China which invested a very large $31.2 billion into solar energy last year spurred the dramatic reduction in cost of producing solar panels. That investment certainly played a major role in redirecting the priorities of the government.
This also opens up greater opportunities for PV installers and could potentially provide long term employment opportunities for Australians in this industry.
Australia’s vigorous activities in solar rooftop installations have made it a global pioneer in the field of renewable energy. With Australian households going solar, the country now boasts of the biggest number of individual solar rooftop installations in the world.