Australia’s 2017 solar PV installation tally already eclipsed – in July

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The amount of solar PV installed in Australia so far in 2018 has already surpassed the combined total of all installations for the whole of 2017.

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The amount of solar PV installed in Australia so far in 2018 has already surpassed the combined total of all installations for the whole of 2017, and it has done so just over half way through the year.

According to the latest data from industry analysts, SunWiz, and as you can see in the charts below, installations of large and small-scale solar PV sailed past the 1.4GW mark in the month of July, and well past the total installed for all of 2017, at 1340MW (1.3GW).

And while rooftop solar continues to boom, large-scale solar is rapidly becoming the star of the show, with SunWiz now tracking a mind-boggling 275 solar farms in various stages of the development pipeline, with total capacity of 36.9GW.

Solar projects under construction: SunWiz

 

But as Giles Parkinson reported on Monday, not all of these projects will actually get up.

Many – large-scale solar and wind – are reportedly being told that they face significant curtailment without either adding battery storage or old-style machinery known as synchronous condensers to deal with system strength issues.

“Both options are causing headaches for developers, because either way they are trashing their financial models, and could cause extensive delays to projects that many expected would begin construction anytime soon.”

Still, the number of solar farms that are currently being built – illustrated by name in the map below – is nonetheless impressive.

Solar farms under construction, by name: SunWiz
Sophie Vorrath

Sophie is editor of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and deputy editor of its sister site, RenewEconomy.com.au. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.

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8 Comments
  1. George Michaelson 4 months ago

    If I had capital to invest, and was concerned about the future risk of government led change, and if I was of a mind to invest in solar or wind, wouldn’t I bring it forward if I thought I could get in under the wire of less favourable investment support from agencies?

    Ie, this looks to me like committed people avoiding future risk by locking in.

    The curtailment thing, I think the reaction is really bad. People should always have been required to build these investments to a spec which included provision of FCAS and related services: pricing them without the functionality is not good social policy. Sure, its a rational economic choice to squeeze in now without, but its not good for the long term: better for the long term, to accept the capital cost has to include these things, and get more of them into the system.

  2. BushAxe 4 months ago

    There’s multiple solar farms under construction in SA & Vic which seem to have escaped Sunwiz?

  3. TheTransition 4 months ago

    The issue of curtailment is obvious. Without really substantial pumped-hydro, upgraded transmission and other storage there is no way Australia can efficiently utilize an extra 36 GW in the middle of the day. Clearly these costs have to added to an all-RE electricity system, not just the cost of building the PV farms.

    • Treadly 4 months ago

      Just flick the OFF switch if there is too much power. It’s not rocket science.

      • eastpole 4 months ago

        I agree — at least with solar, this really does work. (But it makes the solar facility less profitable, which is the problem. Solution: more copper in the gird, more batteries and smarter local power consumption.)

        • TheTransition 4 months ago

          Exacty. We have to pay for that too.

          • eastpole 4 months ago

            So you can’t soak up 36 GW of solar with air conditioning load? (It does seem like a lot of power.)

          • Treadly 4 months ago

            The problem with some people is they are thinking of the present and not the future. The future is as much about management of power, as its production. The Internet of Things (IoT) means that devices that consume power are connected to the devices that use it. Already in Western Australia Synergy is using Blockchain technology to pay for solar power as it is being produced. Water processing plants that feed into storage tanks don’t need to run continuously, so you can run them when there is a surplus of power, and shut them off when there is a shortage of power. The energy source and the load can talk to each other and vary the load to suit supply. Houses have thermal mass, so it’s not a big deal for the air conditioner to go off for short periods. It’s just a matter of power management. The 36 GW figure sounds a bit exaggerated to me.

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