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South Australia has set a stunning new benchmark in the electricity market, with its big share of rooftop solar sending the average daytime wholesale price of electricity to below zero in the first quarter.

According to the Energy Market Operator, the average price of wholesale power in South Australia between 10am and 3.30pm was minus $12/MWh in the three months to March 31 – the first time this has occurred in Australia’s main grid.

South Australia already leads the world in the share of wind and solar in its grid – 60 per cent over the last 13 months – but it is the growing impact of rooftop solar that is causing the biggest frowns at AEMO as it tries to keep the grid stable and the lights on.

Rooftop solar provided an impressive 47.7 per cent of the state’s generation mix in that three month period, and wind and solar overall provided 82.5 per cent of generation over the quarter, despite some wind and solar farms switching off at times to dodge the negative prices.

[Giles Parkinson]

More: Rooftop solar sends average South Australia daytime power prices below zero

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