The Clean Energy Council released figures on Tuesday that show Australians’ energy needs were powered by renewables to the tune of 17.3% in 2016 – the highest since Snowy Hydro was completed 50 years ago. 3.16% of this 17.3% renewable energy was from solar power in Australia – a massive jump of 29% from 2015. According to RenewEconomy, it’s expected to grow considerably in both small and large scale solar PV production – putting us well on track to reach our Renewable Energy Targets (RET) for 2020.
Solar Power in Australia
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton advised that 10 major wind and solar farm projects were completed in 2016 and there are 20 more in the pipeline; he’s confident that we’ll reach our RETs with time to spare.
“Every month brings new project announcements. While total investment in large-scale renewable energy was $2.56 billion last year, $5.20 billion worth of projects have secured finance in just the first five months of 2017 and have either started construction or will begin this year,” Thornton said.
“Innovation continues right across the renewable energy supply chain and new technologies such as energy storage are beginning to get their time in the sun,” he was also quoted as saying. We assume the pun was intended.
The Australian Renewable Energy Target 2020
Some more takeaway statistics from the report:
- Renewable energy provided 17.3% of all Australia’s energy in 2016 – up from 14.6% in 2015.
- 6,750 battery systems were installed in 2016, 13 times the number installed in 2015.
- Hydro is still far and away the biggest contributor to Australia’s renewable energy, comprising 42.3% of the total amount.
- In 2017, building a renewable energy plant is now cheaper than coal and gas-fired power plants.
- About half of the projects already underway or set to commence in 2017 are for large-scale solar, due to price per kWh nearly halving in the last two years.
- Approximately 17,500 GWh of renewable energy was created in 2016 – as the Renewable Energy Target is 33,000GWh we still have a way to go but progress is looking positive.
- Large scale solar is almost 50% of its cost two years ago and is slated to play a huge part in reaching our RET in 2020.
Click here to read the Clean Energy Australia Report 2016 in full at the CEC website.