"Critical decade" for Queensland solar power

27th Sep 2012

Queensland could become the cream of the crop for solar energy – but the next ten years are a "critical decade".

Or so says a new report by the Climate Commission, which praised the efforts already made by 200,000 households and businesses in the state to install solar PV.

The publication was quick to point out the Sunshine State's contributions to clean energy development, with $2.7 billion invested in renewables during 2009-11.

Not only this, but the large majority of these sustainable upgrades were small-scale solar projects, with the sector also constituting a large amount of Australia's total $4.9 billion clean energy spend in 2011.

But, as always, more can be done. And the report believes solar could be the technology to achieve bigger change.

It noted that only four per cent of the state's total electricity generation capacity comes from sun-powered sources at the moment.

In various remote areas of Australia, solar power is already approaching – or has surpassed – grid parity levels (meaning it is becoming as cheap as retail electricity to purchase).

Professor Tim Flannery, chief commissioner of the organisation, said the results "paint a clear picture" for tackling climate change.

He said: "The costs are well understood but the opportunities are less widely known.

"The Sunshine State has one of the best solar resources in the world. The use of solar energy in Queensland has doubled in less than two years."

Professor Flannery said the next ten years will be highly important, suggesting decisions made now will determine the environmental impact on the country's children and grandchildren.

The Queensland Competition Authority recently claimed that a solar panel rush in the state had exceeded expectations, with many homeowners clambering to take advantage of a generous 44 cent feed-in tariff rebate before it was reduced.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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