Renewable energy records continue to tumble across the country, with the latest notable milestone being reached in Western Australia, where solar power is now regularly reaching 50 per cent of supply in the middle of the day.
Our attention was brought to one such event this past Sunday, when the combination of rooftop solar (947MW, or 45.6 per cent of demand) and utility scale solar (100MW, or 4.8 per cent of demand) reached more than 50 per cent – a level it maintained for around four hours.
Such levels have become a common feature in Australia’s main grid, particularly in South Australia, where solar has even provided more than 100 per cent of local demand, but the milestones are notable in W.A. because that grid is isolated, and has no network links to another state.
We asked the Australian Energy Market Operator whether this was a first for Western Australia and was told that no, the 50 per cent milestone had been reached on preceding weekends and on several occasions in September.
The event is likely to be more common in the future. While grid-scale solar is limited to just a few installations – most notably the recently complete 100MW Merredin solar farm and the newly expanded 40MW Greenough River solar farm – it is rooftop solar (currently at more than 1.5GW) that is growing rapidly at a rate of more than 300MW in 2020