Australia undergoing solar ‘revolution’: Climate Commission

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A quiet solar “revolution” in Australia over the past three years means 11% of the population now uses PV technology, a study by the country’s Climate Commission claims.

The report, The critical decade: Australia’s future – solar energy, said the number of rooftop PV installations in Australia had risen from 8,000 in 2007 to 1 million today, with 2.6 million people now using the technology.

The highest proportion of solar systems – 53% – has been installed in rural areas, closely followed by city suburbs, where the largest number of mortgaged properties are located.

And the report said PV would have an increasingly part to play in Australia’s energy mix, predicting it would provide 29% of the country’s energy needs by 2050.

Tim Flannery, Australia’s chief climate commissioner, told AAP: “A revolution that nobody expected has occurred over the last four years in solar.

“It has astonished everyone. If you read the old energy white paper of 2009, it predicted we'd have about as much solar as we have today by 2030, so to get it that soon is pretty amazing.”

“The most significant factor has been the decline in cost. The manufacturing cost scale is so effective that you can now buy panels at a quarter of the price that you would have paid for them in 2002.”

However, PV has come under pressure in some areas of the country, with Queensland’s government contemplating a large cut to the state’s solar feed-in tariff due to its popularity.

Flannery said policy stability would be vital in enabling further growth in Australia’s PV take up.

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