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28 April 2017

New milestones for renewables in Australia

Australia’s total solar power capacity has reached 6 gigawatts (GW), while the states of Queensland and South Australia achieve state renewable energy milestones. 

The Australian Photovoltaic Institute – with data from the Clean Energy Regulator – has announced that the country has hit a new solar record, with Queensland continuing to lead the solar transition.

Total solar energy capacity in Australia has surpassed the 6 GW mark, enough power to meet the electricity needs of 1.3 million households.

Furthermore, capacity is expected to double over the coming years as large-scale solar projects begin development and Australian households continue to invest in rooftop panels to reduce energy bills.

Renate Egan, Chair of the Australian Photovoltaic Institute, said in a statement: "Solar power now makes up 11 per cent of our country's total electricity generation capacity with more solar added to the system in 2016 than any other fuel type.”

"To put 6 GW into perspective,” Egan said, “that is twice the capacity of Australia's largest coal-fired power station, Loy Yang in Victoria."

Specifically, rooftop solar capacity has now reached 5.6 GW, with large-scale solar capacity standing at 496 megawatts (MW) and growing fast.

As of April 2017, there were a total of 1.67 million solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in Australia, covering 21 per cent of suitable rooftops.

In total, these solar installations collectively generate 8,400 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity each year.

Solar power installations in Queensland are now outpacing the state’s largest power station, and in some areas cover the majority of rooftops.

Rooftop solar now generates 1,805 MW, overtaking the 1,780 MW of the Gladstone coal fired power station – after home and business owners in Queensland added 25 MW of rooftop solar capacity last month.

South Australia has also reached a significant renewable energy milestone.

On Tuesday April, the national day of remembrance (Anzac Day), the state set a new wind production record – reaching 1,540 megawatts (MW).

The previous record of 1,400 MW was set just two weeks earlier.

At its peak, the wind output generated on Anzac Day equated to 96.6 per cent of registered capacity.

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