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Australia's solar climate

30th Apr 2013

It appears that 2013 is already proving a solid year for solar power in Australia despite some uncertainty in the global sector.

Australia's Centre for Policy Development (CPD), a public interest think tank dedicated to seeking out creative, viable ideas and innovative research to inject into Australia’s policy debates, has released a report titled Going Solar: Renewing Australia’s electricity options.

The report was written by Laura Eadie, research director for the Sustainable Economy Program at CPD, and Cameron Elliott, a researcher for CPD’s Sustainable Economy and Public Service Research Programs.

The report opens with a number of statistics that will prove pretty confronting to those who continue to deny the efficacy of solar power.

For instance, it states that federal government support for fossil fuel electricity in 2012-13 amounted to $3.6 billion, while renewable energy support was at $1.4 billion.

As well as this it's reported that 53 per cent of Australians explicitly believe in more government support for solar power versus an explicit six per cent of Australians who support subsidies for the coal industry.

Only 14 per cent of those surveyed agreed with subsidies for the natural gas industry.

Quite significantly, the report proved the scaremongering around the financial effect of the Renewable Energy Target quite wrong.

It states that the estimated amount the Renewable Energy Target will add to an average household between 2013 and 2031 is a negligible $15 dollars a year.

"Sharp rises in electricity bills, coupled with rapidly falling costs of solar systems and generous government support, have led one million households to invest in rooftop solar. By 2020, over two million households - approximately one in five - are likely to be solar consumers," states the report.

As well as this, the report asserted that solar power lowers the wholesale electricity prices for all consumers - as long as the retailers themselves pass these savings on.

Australia's current level of rooftop solar panels could have $300-670 million annually in wholesale electricity costs based on 2009-2010 prices.

It's clear that the energy industry and the electricity market are in a state of transformation as renewable energy becomes the most logical solution to our myriad of power problems.

According to the CPD report, solar electricity is forecast to grow at a faster rate than other renewable technologies due to its cost effectiveness and benefits.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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