The future of solar energy in Australia
Compare satellite images of any Aussie suburb from the 1990s to now, and you'll notice one glaring (pun intended) difference: solar panels.
We may have been behind on our large-scale renewable energies, but everyday Aussies have made up the difference by taking on the initiative to install their own rooftop solar, either to add to the grid, or to heat their household water.
These savvy homeowners recognise that, along with the obvious benefits to the environment, installation of home rooftop solar leads to lower electricity bills and higher energy security. It's a win-win and if you haven't invested in solar for your home, it's not too late!
So, what is the future of solar energy in Australia?
Combining large, medium and small scale installations, solar makes up 38.3 per cent of Australia's total renewable generation technology type. In Queensland, we may be called the sunshine state, but unfortunately we're last on the list for renewable energy penetration compared to other states. As at July 2022, the Queensland Government reported that renewable energy makes up only 21.4 per cent of our energy sources.
Looking ahead, as both the Federal and State Governments make commitments toward renewable energy, solar will play a key role in our energy future. Our continent has the highest solar radiation per square metre of any continent and consequently, some of the best solar energy resources in the world. There's no doubt, as both individuals and the wider Australian society make moves toward renewable energy, how much sun we get will play a factor in what technologies we utilise.
What's the tipping point for solar energy and how close are we?
In 2021, there were 389,577 rooftop solar installations, breaking the previous record for new installs for the second year in a row. More than one in three Australian households are now powered by the sun as a result of this industry's advancement past the critical milestone of three million solar homes.
According to the ANU College of Science, Australia is on track to reach its commitment of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2025, with solar playing a large technological part in this.
Want to learn more? Meet Israel Vogel, one of TAFE Queensland’s champions for renewable energy in general and solar energy and batteries in particular. In his webinar, Israel talks about how TAFE Queensland connects with local industries and manufacturers to work towards more sustainable solutions and how TAFE Queensland is skilling Queenslanders for the future.