What’s next for Red Solar Energy?
The Australian government will continue to pay for the installation of about 6GW of solar energy in Australia.
Australia’s renewable energy market, with a cap on wholesale power prices of 5.9¢ per kilowatt-hour, will see some of the cheapest solar panels installed in Australia, with the state-owned Renewable Energy Agency buying and installing panels for $3.50 a watt.
This is $1.40 cheaper than a similar system installed at a similar point in California’s state-run solar program.
The cost of installing panels in Australia is expected to drop over the next five years to about $1 per watt, but is still not cheap.
“The technology is mature, and it has proven to be highly cost-effective,” the AEMO said in a statement.
However, it said that its installation programs would remain free, and would not be subject to any financial support from the government.
Renewable energy is expected by 2020 to supply almost all the Australian electricity supply.
AEMO solar panel installation at the Karratha Solar Farm.
Solar PV technology is still very expensive in Australia and the cost of solar panels remains low compared to conventional solar, but the industry is growing rapidly.
In 2017, Australia generated about one gigawatt of renewable electricity, or about one million kilowatts.
That equates to about one-fifth of the country’s total electricity needs, and has made it an attractive market for companies looking to expand their solar projects.
While the cost per watt of solar power remains low, there is some question over whether it is sustainable for the industry, as a key component of the Australian economy.
As part of the Renewable Electricity Market Review, which was launched in February, the AECO has agreed to buy a total of about 4GW of new solar panels over the coming five years, and is now planning to build new plants, but also to upgrade existing ones.
It is unclear whether these upgrades will continue in parallel to the purchase of new panels.
Earlier this year, the federal government announced a $30 billion wind farm in Queensland, the largest in the country.
Queensland will become the first state to have a large-scale wind farm built in the past five years.