Large-Scale Solar & The Next Wave of Renewables

With the highest rate of solar radiation per square metre in the world and over 2 million household rooftop solar PV installations, it’s no surprise Australia has some of the biggest solar opportunities in the world.

The allocation of more than $600 million by the federal government to boost large-scale solar projects is expected to give the large-scale solar sector much needed growth. There’s no doubt that large-scale solar photovoltaic projects will become the next wave of renewable energy in the national energy market.

As the South Australian electricity power crisis rages on, the main focus appears to be on the unpredictable nature of wind energy. There are concerns, however, about the seemingly unreliable nature of large-scale solar investments and the overall cost of connecting them to the National Electricity Market (NEM).

First Solar is the world’s largest constructor of large-scale solar, including three-quarters of large solar projects in Australia. Jack Curtis, the company’s Regional General Manager said solar was by far a better way to leverage Australia’s high energy demand than wind power.

“Large-scale wind is inherently more uncorrelated with load because solar shines during the day when there is more generation need, as well as being more predictable,” said, Mr. Curtis.

He added that the issues concerning intermittency with both solar and wind were attainable, insisting that renewable energy could be accurately embedded into the NEM. Curtis then pointed to California’s experience where solar accounts for nearly 50

He added that the issues concerning intermittency with both solar and wind were attainable, insisting that renewable energy could be accurately embedded into the NEM. Curtis then pointed to California’s experience where solar accounts for nearly 50 percent of its electricity.”While renewables are inherently intermittent and don’t provide thermal or

“While renewables are inherently intermittent and don’t provide thermal or despatchable capacity, that can be managed very effectively provided there is a degree of thought put into how the market is designed and how you balance it in the overall [energy] portfolio,” he said.
There will be even greater possibilities for utility scale solar once battery technology becomes commercially viable.

Experts in renewable energy like Darryn Van Hout, the co-founder and CEO of Australian Solar Quotes says that utility-scale solar is likely to make up a larger portion if issues with transmission and siting can be resolved, and the recent innovations in energy storage are adopted.

“Looking at current trends, we are likely to see more of solar photovoltaics at utility-scale sizes,” says Darryn. “Proper policy developments and embracing technology changes,” says Darryn, “would hugely contribute to this and set Australia well on its way towards achieving its renewables goals.”First Solar set up AGL Energy’s

First Solar set up AGL Energy’s 155 megawatt solar plant for $439 million at Broken Hill and Nyngan in NSW, received a whopping $166 million in taxpayer funding from ARENA.
ARENA has also allocated $101 million towards the 56 megawatt Moree solar farm expected to cost $164 million.

Other federal government bodies – the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation– have set aside $350 million to support large-scale solar projects.ARENA is already assessing other 20 eligible projects, including 106.8

ARENA is already assessing other 20 eligible projects, including 106.8 megawatt Darling Downs solar farm in Queensland inspired by Origin Energy’s and Infigen Energy’s 42.4 megawatt Manildra solar farm in NSW, eligible for a $100 million funding.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation will also offer $250 million to finance debt to these projects.
ARENA’s CEO Ivor Frischknecht said funding from the taxpayer would help mitigate the cost of large-scale solar plants so as to achieve better cost parity between large-scale wind and solar energy by 2020. The funds would also promote future private investment in the renewables sector.”While the costs of large-scale solar PV are decreasing, this financing boost will help Australian projects move down the cost curve, in line with international trends,” he said.

“While the costs of large-scale solar PV are decreasing, this financing boost will help Australian projects move down the cost curve, in line with international trends,” he said.

The Author

Hi, my name is Georgia and I am an editor and content creator working at Australian Solar Quotes. I have a passion for sustainable and ethical living. I want to inform and educate others on sustainable practices like using renewable energy. I invite you to join the conversation by commenting below with your thoughts.

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