For 100 years, we’ve burnt things to produce energy. Since the first utility scale solar farm came to life in 2012 near Geraldton, Western Australia, solar has fought an uphill battle to take its rightful place in Australia’s energy mix.
Facing roadblocks at every turn including a fossil fuel-favoured policy environment, lengthy grid connection delays, export curtailments and the investment uncertainty, the sector took longer to build momentum than should have been the case.
Despite this, there are now more than 70 large scale solar farms with more than 6GW of capacity, more under construction and much more in the pipeline.
Solar – The Energy of Choice for Regional Australia
Driven by all the benefits that come with clean, locally sourced power, regional industries and communities are recognising the opportunities presented by solar and pushing ahead regardless of the challenges they face.
No single cohort feels the impacts of climate change more than farmers, and no one wants climate action more than our primary producers who feed and clothe the country. Farming and renewable energy go hand in hand for so many reasons – enter the term agrivoltaics.
The sheep and solar combination is a movement unto itself, with many studies such as this one from Oregon State University, showing massive increases in land productivity.
Farmers are also turning to solar as a means to shore up their energy supply and protect themselves from rising power prices, which reduces their profit margins in a highly competitive industry.
Beyond the Burn: A Photographic Expedition
Our driving purpose behind this expedition is to connect with local communities and the industry at large to celebrate solar’s triumphant success in Australia, and reaffirm our commitment to this market.
Our commitment is to continue to push solar to its greatest potential, through continuous innovation of our hardware and software solutions, unparalleled partnership and exceptional project outcomes. Because when solar wins, everyone wins.
So we embarked on a photographic expedition. Supported by the Smart Energy Council in collaboration with the solar industry, Beyond the Burn will tell the story of solar’s triumph by capturing the solar farms powering Australia’s clean energy future, and the people behind them.
The expedition will be led by acclaimed Australian Geographic photographer, storyteller and adventurer, Ralph Alphonso.
Join us as we recount the journey through rural Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales stopping at Bomen, Nevertire, Warwick, Jemalong, Bannerton and Karadoc, meeting the workers and sharing stories along the way.
Peter Wheale is vice-president of Next Tracker Australia.