Solar power systems 'flood Australian market'

25th Jun 2012

Australia could be in the running for the title of one of the world's great solar power users, as a new study reveals just how popular the systems have become in recent years.

Analysis from Frost & Sullivan, entitled Australia and New Zealand Renewable Energy Markets, shows that the industry is already heading in the right direction – and will continue to do so.

Research analyst Subha Krishnan said that the Renewable Energy Target (RET) – which aims to see Australia sourcing 20 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2020 – has played a big role in this success.

"Ever since the RET target for 2020 was amended to provide a 'solar multiplier' for roof-top solar systems, and some states introduced generous feed-in tariffs, small-scale installations such as PV systems and solar hot water systems have flooded the Renewable Energy Certificate market," he commented.

Solar has proved to be a stand-out performer over recent years, as it boasted the highest revenue share in 2011 – but Subha believes Australia can do more to reach its potential.

This is largely due to Australia having unambitious solar targets compared to other countries such as Japan and Germany, Frost & Sullivan suggested – but this is not the only reason.

Another source of concern is that too much emphasis is being placed on improving the capacity of coal-fired thermal power plants, which means that project developers are not focusing as highly on solar energy.

So although we might be doing fairly well, the report indicates that there is certainly some room for improvement.

Installations of home solar panels are faring well at the moment, but perhaps more needs to be done to encourage their adoption on a much larger scale.

With the carbon tax just around the corner (it comes into force on July 1), businesses could soon be given the encouragement they need to shift to more efficient sources of energy.

NuGreen, a sustainable project manager, recently outlined how much benefit companies can reap from becoming more energy efficient.

It cited findings from Allen Consulting, which believes the average cost of operating a 25,000 sq m building in Sydney will increase by approximately $61,961 when the tax is introduced.

With solar power systems more affordable than many people think, this could be the perfect time to protect businesses from the rise while also giving Australia a boost in the solar stakes.

Posted by Mike Peacock


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