Solar energy surpasses coal for the first time in winter

The emergence of solar power as the dominant source was first seen on Friday in August, when it overtook coal by 35 minutes as the largest fuel source. On Sunday the period lasted three hours and 20 minutes.

At its peak, solar power produced 11,487 megawatts of power, while coal produced 9,784 MW, according to Energy Edge.

‘The tip of the iceberg’

Stabler said Western Australia recorded the highest amount of electricity coming from solar power, with more than 60 per cent of the state’s needs covered by the sun.

Although solar power has yet to exceed 50 percent in other parts of the country, Stabler said the threshold could be reached in the coming weeks as Australia sees higher levels of sunlight and demand for electricity is subdued.

Peak solar dispatch will still occur through the summer, but warmer weather will drive higher demand, so the current period is the optimal period in terms of maximum market share for solar.

The record may not last long, however, as more Australians install rooftop solar to hedge against higher electricity prices.

“This is the tip of the iceberg. This trend will continue unabated,” Mr. Stabler said.

“The Australian Power Market Operator expects very bullish growth in solar power throughout this decade.”

More than 3,000MW of small-scale solar capacity was added to the grid in Australia last year, according to the Clean Power Regulator, which eclipsed the previous high of 2,964MW in 2020.

While higher interest rates and inflation are putting pressure on households, solar companies have said they have seen a wave of new demand from households amid rising electricity bills.

Australia’s Energy Regulator this year approved price increases of up to 18 per cent in New South Wales and 12 per cent in Queensland from July 1, with many analysts expecting elevated utility bills to remain. for several years.

While the adoption of solar power could see the zero-energy source emerge as Australia’s dominant electricity provider as early as next year, Stabler said it would also account for an even bigger share of the NEM going forward.

The new Labor government has made accelerating renewable energy generation a central focus of its political agenda. It has set an aggressive goal of having zero-emissions sources make up more than 80 per cent of Australia’s electricity mix by 2030, which would enable the country to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Australia is one of a growing number of countries looking to rapidly decarbonise, which has increased interest in renewable power generation assets as investors race to position themselves to capitalize.

On Monday, New Energy Solar became the latest example when it announced it had sold its portfolio of US solar assets to MN8 Energy, formerly Goldman Sachs Renewable Power, for $244.5 million.

The deal comes as Genex Power is expected to settle with a consortium that includes a co-founder of software company Atlassian.

Genex is one of the last remaining renewable energy companies on Australia’s ASX list and has consistently developed new zero emission generation projects, including solar, storage and pumped hydro.

Genex Power, which has long been a darling of renewables advocates and has received significant support from taxpayers, has weathered painstaking rounds of capital raising to develop the projects and the consortium believes that privatizing the company would allow it to accelerate its growth.

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