Solar in Bundaberg leads Australia’s top suburbs.

Solar in Bundaberg leads Australian suburbs for PV solar update as aerial imagery company Nearmap are reporting that last year 1078MW of rooftop solar systems were installed across Australia. Seven of the top ten suburbs are in Queensland and the other three are in Western Australia – with a huge bump in the number of rural and coastal towns installing more solar power systems than ever before. 

Solar in Bundaberg

Solar in Bundaberg
Solar in Bundaberg 2017 (source: RealEstate.com.au via Nearmap)

We’ve seen quite a lot of work done in Bundaberg so it’s no surprise to see they are the biggest suburb in Australia with the highest solar power uptake. Walking around you can see systems on many roofs and Stockland are installing a solar system on top of their Bundaberg shopping centre.

Nearmap executive Shane Preston discussed how they were able to use their software to have a visual on how much the landscape has changed, and how we will see even more as the technology/price continues to move in the right direction. Mr. Preston noted that using technology like Nearmap allow you to have a clearer look on how much solar is actually being installed in households Australia wide:

“But when you look at it from the air, you can observe in incredible detail the renewable energy uptake occurring across our country,’’ he said.

“As the benefits of renewable energies like solar continue to surface, we can expect to see more demand for installations,’’ he continued, in comments made to news.com.au.

Nearmap (visit their website here) worked with the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) to come up with the statistics (in a sense – as per Your Mortgage, Nearmap flew over 88% of the population in urbanised areas six times in the last year to help document Australia’s solar revolution) – so even though the statistics come from the CER they’ve been helped along by Nearmap’s great service. 

Australia’s Biggest Solar Suburbs

Bundaberg North – 11,756
Erskine – 11,409
Nikenbah – 10,517
Caloundra – 9308
Toowoomba – 8580
Hocking – 8416
Pacific Pines – 7724
Mackay – 7263
Raceview – 7295
Canning Vale – 7116

 

Darling Downs Solar Grid Risks

A substantial rise in solar PV farms on the Darling Downs risks causing major issues with energy supply networks if urgent grid updates are not undertaken to ensure Darling Downs solar is future-proofed.

Darling Downs Solar Farms

According to The Chronicle, six projects worth almost $2 billion are planned for the Darling Downs region over the next few years. This includes a 5000-hectare plant at Millmerran (the largest solar farm in Australia), and the $200 million, 100MW Yarranlea solar farm.

State Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply Mark Bailey told the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise National Energy Summit “at this stage” the Queensland Government don’t have any grid upgrades for the Toowoomba area planned – noting that they have upgraded the transmission line in North Queensland “because we’ve got so many projects happening there.” Bailey said that “…we will continue to review our system to make sure we can facilitate these projects.”

Federal Minister for Resources Senator Matthew Canavan was also drawn into the conversation, advising that we should be careful with the amount of renewable energy we source if we don’t have a clear path forward with regards to grid stability: “We shouldn’t push renewables up above 40% without a proper plan of knowing how to keep the lights on when renewables are not there,” he said. “That’s what they did in South Australia and they put their own state and businesses there at great risk.”

Darling Downs Solar Yarranlea
Yarranlea Solar Plant (source: yarranleasolar.com.au)

The Chief Executive of Yarranlea Solar, Nick Canto, said that “major infrastructure upgrades” were required as the existing grid will not have the capacity to deal with the increased power load. Canto was also quoted on the 11th discussing Toowomba and the Surat Basin’s ‘extensive electrical transmission network’ – so it looks like he’s more worried about the grid’s ability to deal with such a large amount of renewable energy from multiple solar farms.