Rooftop solar has set a new record on Australia’s electricity grid, when generation capacity peaked at 9,104MW at midday on Wednesday (Oct 6), when it contributed more than one-third of the total generation mix on the National Energy Market.
The new high easily beats the previous record from just a couple of weeks ago by 600MW, when power sent to the grid from Australian rooftops reached 8,505MW at midday on Thursday, September 23.
And compared to a year ago, in October in 2020, when the record rooftop solar contribution for that month was 7,211MW – it represents a jump of almost 2GW improvement in just 12 months, according to data verified by Dylan McConnell, from the Climate and Energy College in Melbourne.
As you can see in the chart above from OpenNEM, at midday on Wednesday rooftop solar was supplying 34.6% of the total generation mix on the NEM, while large-scale solar supplied 9.8%, wind energy 9.6% and hydro 1.7%.
Including hydro, that delivered a combined renewables share of 57.1 per cent – below the recent record of 61.7 per cent.
The Australian Energy Market Operator expects rooftop solar, alone, to account for up to 100 per cent of state demand in South Australia this spring, and up to 75 per cent of national grid demand by 2026. It also predicts that renewables will meet all of demand on occasions in the national grid by 2025,.
The latest data from industry analysts SunWiz shows that a September rebound in rooftop PV installations has taken Australia’s total installed capacity to near the 2.5GW mark for the year so far – 15% ahead of the same time in 2020 and well on track to sail past a record total of 3GW.
The uptick in rooftop solar growth followed two months of Covid-connected downturns to chart an increase in installations of 8.4% – from 250MW in August to 271MW in September – the first true upward movement recorded since June.
September was also a bumper month for renewable energy generation across the board, with a record 35.4 per cent share of generation on Australia’s main grid for the month, as RenewEconomy reports here.