Over the weekend, South Australia met 100 percent of its electricity demand with solar energy for the first time, with the majority of it coming from rooftop PV panels rather than solar farms.
Cloudless skies, low energy demand, and mild temperatures helped create conditions for rooftop solar to produce 76 percent of circulating electricity, with utility-scale solar farms providing the remainder.
Both sources combined to produce 1.37 gigawatts of usable electricity, generating 986 metric tonnes of CO2 and requiring 1 million pounds of coal or approximately 100,000 gallons of gasoline.
Just weeks before, rooftop solar panels in sunny Australia had broken a record of 900 megawatts per hour of production for the first time, a record that would be broken for 2.5 hours straight on Sunday when rooftop panels generated 992 MWh.
Solar is now the cheapest source of electricity for utility companies to instal, according to a recent study from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Records were being set outside of South Australia’s bookkeepers as well. Simultaneously, panel technology improves, prices for simple panels begin to decline, and investors discover more and better financing options.
That’s good news for South Australia and the continent as a whole, as energy forecasts indicate that solar panel and battery installations will continue to grow there until 2021, eliminating the need for natural gas grid protections and even enabling some surplus energy to be sent up to Victoria.
Solar will continue to expand at a rapid rate.
The future of solar energy is bright; the future of wind is breezy; the future of biofuels is smelling good—and it is presented as such in the IEA’s annual energy outlook after they ran scenarios in which various states’ specified policies are implemented and estimated what it would mean for the energy sector.
According to their report, global solar growth will average 13% per year by 2025, and while capital costs have risen slightly after years of decline, other market conditions will drive production and investment to new peaks, while 275GWh of global coal will be going in the opposite direction.
“Global solar PV deployment exceeds pre-crisis (COVID) levels by 2021 and sets new records each year after 2022 thanks to widely available resources, declining costs, and policy support in over 130 countries,” reads the executive summary of the report.
It goes on to say that renewables will surpass coal as the world’s primary source of energy by 2025, and that, based on their goals and current trajectory, China will have increased renewables by 1500 terawatts per hour by 2030, which is more than the combined electricity demand of Germany, France, and Italy last year.
This is not lost on the stock markets. Investment companies such as Blackrock are taking a new climate-related approach to investment strategies, with CEO Larry Fink sending letters to all of the big CEOs whose money Blackrock oversees, stating that any company they intend to invest in will be examined for sustainable business practises.
South Australia’s records are the beginnings of a global trend that will impact all economies and energy firms, and are most likely just a few stones falling from the mountains, causing an avalanche.Follow Us