Today we’re going to let RenewEconomy write our blog for us. According to an article there by Giles Parkinson, rooftop solar photovoltaic installation in Queensland
now accounts for nearly half the national market and is apparently growing at 1,000 installations a day. That, though, is more to do with the fact that it is the only state to keep its feed-in-tariff intact – a net tariff of 44c/kWh. All eyes are on the Newman government to see what it does with that. Solar markets in other states are only now readjusting to having tariffs removed, although there has been a boost in activity ahead of July 1.
Just to emphasise that Newman gets no credit for supporting solar, Parkinson reported yesterday:
The newly elected Queensland state government has backed down on its threat to pull funding from the $1.2 billion Solar Dawn project, after apparently discovering that it was locked in to the $75 million funding commitment.
Premier Campbell Newman promised to repeal funding for the 250MW solar thermal project near Chinchilla – one of the two Solar Flagships winners – along with a range of other clean energy funding promises made by the previous state government. “If we can exit this project and save, I think it is A$75 million, we will,” Newman said at the time.
Believe it or not, cloudy Australia is leading sunny Germany in small rooftop solar installations.
According to data drawn to our attention by Warwick Johnston of Sunwiz Consulting, Australia installed more small-scale solar than Germany in calendar 2011 – 795MW of rooftop systems of 10kW or less (the average size in Australia ranges from 1.5kW to 2.2kW) compared to 759MW in Germany.
The flip side to that story is that commercial- and industrial-scale solar in Australia is virtually non-existent, whereas it forms the largest part of the market in Germany. Commercial scale – 30kW to 100kW – is just starting to get traction in Australia.
And to help overcome that disparity, our friends at 100% Renewable spent all yesterday lobbying federal politicians to support Big Solar for Australia! 100% were presenting the results of their community surveys that they carried out, explaining and questioning people about large-scale solar plants. Andrew Bray reports:
So the results were emphatic: 94 per cent of the 12,000 people surveyed supported building big solar plants in Australia. In fact, it was such a no-brainer that many people were surprised to learn that while the Chinese and Americans are building 500 megawatt solar plants, Australia’s largest completed project is a little over 1 megawatt.
Interestingly, a similarly large amount supported the idea of a government fund to help get those plants built. While people understand that the private sector will do the heavy lifting, they also expect the government to provide leadership and funding to make it happen.
While these seem extraordinary figures, they are in the same ball park as other polls that have tested support for renewable energy, such as one run by Essential Research last year that found 89 per cent support for renewable energy.
Renewable energy in general, and solar energy in particular, is wildly popular.